How Does the Birth Control Pill Work?

Dear Couch,

This may seem to be quite an elementary question but I'm sure you can help. My girlfriend went on the pill about 6 months ago. I asked her what it does to prevent pregnancy, she doesn't even know. Is it something hormonal, or chemical. Does it stop the eggs completely from leaving the ovaries? What does it do? Why does she have to take one everyday? This would also help with the both of us with preventing pregnancy. Even though I still ALWAYS were a condom to be safe, I'm sure the extra knowledge would be helpful.


Dear Watson,

You're right, it's quite an elementary question. But then again, we think that the very best reason in the world for allowing yourself to look stupid is for the sake of advancing your knowledge. Most pills are made up of two synthetic hormones, estrogen and progesterone. By taking a tiny bit of hormone every day, your girlfriend is sending a message to her body that it does not need to produce the ups and downs of natural hormones. It's these ups and downs that makes her ovulate, and without them the eggs just hang out and wait. The pill, taken every day at about the same time of day, is a VERY good method of preventing pregnancy. It does didly squat (nothing) to prevent the transmission of critters, so you should absolutely always use a condom as well when STD's are concerned. And don't forget...when your girlfriend takes antibiotics for any reason (bronchitis, bladder infection, anything) the pills don't work as well, and she might get FERTILE!!! So, make extra sure the condom doesn't break for at least the rest of her pill packet. For a great resource on all your birth control options try Ann Rose's Ultimate Birth Control Links Page.

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