The approval of the birth control played a major role in the sexual liberation of women that took place during the 1960's. For the first time women were free to enjoy spontaneous sex without fear of pregnancy. Today it's estimated that about 16 million women use the Pill.
The Pill works by suppressing ovulation so that no egg is released by the ovaries for fertilization by sperm. Ovulation is suppressed through the actions of the hormones (estrogen alone or a combination of estrogen and progestin) that the birth control pill contains.
The birth control pill doesn't just prevent unplanned pregnancy, it also offers a number other benefits to the women who use it. In fact, women who take the Pill for at least one year are 40 percent less likely to develop uterine and ovarian cancers. Other important benefits of the birth control pill include regulating irregular periods, controlling acne, reducing menstrual cramps, and relieving the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome -- PMS.
The hormones contained in oral contraceptives also provide a protective effect against pelvic inflammatory disease, a major cause of infertility. This protection is caused by the increased thickness of the cervical mucous that occurs when oral contraceptives are used. The thickened cervical mucous helps to keep bacterium from entering the vagina and possibly the uterus and fallopian tubes where pelvic inflammatory disease can occur.
Planned Parenthood, Is the Pill Good for You?, 01/21/05, accessed 07/17/06