JONATHAN A. MEYERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JONATHAN A. MEYERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Birth control. Variety of oral contraceptive pills. The birth control pill was invented by Austrian born Carl Djerassi and first became available in 1960. Over ten million American women use an oral contraceptive, the pill, to prevent pregnancy. The pill may also regulate menstrual periods, reduce menstrual cramps, treat hormonal imbalances, and ovarian cysts. The pill is a combination of estrogen and progesterone, the hormones produced in the ovaries that are responsible for ovulation and the menstrual cycle. Oral contraceptives are generally prescribed by a gynaecologist.
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