Tag Archives: sexuality

The NO-PANIC Guide to the Birth Control Pill – Part I

The no-panic guide to the birth control pill

For quite some time, I’ve been trying to put together a comic on the birth control pill (a.k.a. “the Pill”). I knew exactly what I wanted to talk about: its risks (e.g. blood clots, cancer), its benefits, available alternatives, etc.

And yet, I was staring at a blank page. Utterly stuck.

Then, at some point, I finally discovered the reason for my mental block: it’s impossible to tackle the risks of the Pill without first understanding how it works.

After all, how many women know…

  • How the menstrual cycle and ovulation work?
  • What are the purposes of the different structures of the female reproductive system, such as the ovaries and the endometrium?
  • What are the roles of estrogen and progesterone?
  • How does hormonal contraception work?

Answer: not many.

It’s easy to frighten people with a list of all the serious side effects of hormonal contraception (because they do exist), but it’s much garder to paint the whole picture.

This is Part 1 of my “No-Panic Guide to the Birth Control Pill.” The second (and last) part will specifically deal with the risks and benefits of the Pill.

In order to make sure that my comic is accurate, I asked for the help of Lyne Massicotte, a clinical biochemist. Lyne, whose work I greatly admire, is the cofounder – with her partner Mathieu – of Nasci Biologie Médicale, a medical lab specializing in male fertility. Thanks Lyne!

Translated by Qian Li (Pharm.D. candidate), proofread by Stéphanie Alcaraz-Robinson.

 

Introduction

 

The brain releases FSH and the ovaries start working on the folliclesEstrogen appears and LH stimulates the ovaries even furtherThe ovum begins its journey and progesterone prepares the endometrium

Fertilization or period

 

How the Pill works A

How the Pill works B

 

How the Minipill works

 

Other types of hormonal contraception

 

Conclusion

 

The no-panic guide to the birth control pill part II (header)

 

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