The Health Benefits and Risks Associated with the Combined Oral Contraceptive : A Literature Review
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In the last 50 years, the birth control pill, also referred to as the oral contraceptive (OC), has become one of the more famous, effective, and widely used methods of contraception. The original intent of the pill was to prevent pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation. As an additional result, the OC became a symbol of freedom—freedom for women to control their reproductive rights, decision to pursue motherhood, and ability to stray from the traditional role of a woman. Immediately following the approval of the first OC, studies heavily explored the health benefits and risks that accompanied its use. Throughout this literature review, the effects of the combined oral contraceptive pill (COC) were investigated since its prevalence in the contraception market is greater than the progesterone only pills (POP). Specifically, the effects of the synthetic versions of estrogen and progesterone were investigated. Today, roughly 10 million women choose to use this method of contraception; however, their knowledge on the adverse risks and health benefits that can arise from the pill maybe limited. Past and current research was examined in regards to the risks that the COC can have on the cardiovascular system and breast cancer development, and the benefits that it can have such as protecting ovarian cancer and regulation menstruation. The hope of this literature review is to inform women how the presence and amount of each hormone in the COC influence the female body.