Saheli Pills: Are They Safe?

saheli pills

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Saheli pills? A tacky name you might think! It is all right if you wonder who in their right minds would name a pill Saheli! We all are familiar with pills like I Pill or Unwanted 72, but Saheli? Sounds so desi right? But just because a pill has a desi name, does it mean that the pill is substandard? Aren’t we all a bit too harsh on judging desi stuff especially in these global market times?

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What are Saheli Pills?

If you don’t know what Saheli pills are, we don’t blame you because these pills are not at all widely promoted or suggested!

Saheli pills are birth control pills. They are available only in India. And there is more! 

Saheli pills are the first-ever non-steroidal oral contraceptive pills in the world! India has much to be proud of about Saheli pills because it was in an Indian pharmaceutical laboratory at the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow, that these pills were first made. Amongst all the existing birth control pills in the world, it is only these pills that have been approved for clinical use as an anti-implantation drug. An anti-implantation drug prevents the fertilized egg from implanting into the uterine wall.

The Indian government widely uses Saheli pills in its National Family Planning programmes. If you go to any government hospitals, be it the Primary Health Centres (PHCs) or the huge tertiary hospitals with specialized departments such as Gynaecology, you can get the Saheli pills there for free! However, you will need to get a prescription from the doctor in charge to get these pills. Saheli pills are also known as  Chhaya pills.

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Are Saheli Pills Safe?

All the studies so far on Saheli pills have proved that they are extremely safe. In fact, the side effects are very minimal for Saheli pills. 

The birth control pills currently available in the commercial market are steroidal drugs. Steroidal drugs are drugs that contain artificially made hormones. Saheli pills, however, do not have any artificially made hormones in them. Thus it is categorized as a non-steroidal drug.

For many women, it has been found that the usual birth control pills cause many side effects. The most common complaints are nausea, vomiting, spotting (mild bleeding from the vagina that occurs randomly), weight gain, frequently occurring dizziness. Also, for women who have pre-existing medical conditions that cause blood clots in their veins, there are high chances for them to develop blood clots when on birth control pills. There are many other medical conditions where the birth control pills are contraindicated (not recommended) by the doctors for use.

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These are the areas where Saheli pills have earned brownie points: it does not cause nausea, vomiting, spotting, weight gain, dizziness! And the best part is it does not bring any change to the platelet functions (platelets are cells in the blood which bring about clotting of blood), thus there are no risks due to unusual blood clotting.

The way the chemical compounds in these pills work on the body makes sure that the hormonal systems are not influenced in any manner. For our reproductive system to function like a clockwork, there is an elaborate mechanism of hormones that involve the glands in the brain, reproductive organs, and glands such as the Thyroid. Because these pills do not interfere with the routine hormone clockwork of the body, routine body processes such as ovulation also happen on schedule. Ovulation is the process wherein an Ovum/ Egg is released from the Ovary. Ovulation happens every month as part of your menstrual cycle.

To know more about how these pills work read: How to use Saheli Pills?

Why are Saheli pills not popular?

This is so very easy to answer. Because these pills are endorsed by the government and widely used in the family planning programs of the government, many are quick to judge that the pills are unsafe and substandard! Also, the fact that the pills are distributed for free in government hospitals makes most people suspect that there is something shady about them. To make it all the more unheard of, these pills are not advertised in the media. This is because of the rule that Schedule H drugs ( a classification of drugs according to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act India has) cannot be advertised and Saheli pills are Schedule H drugs. 

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