Since 1992, Hindustan Latex Limited has been selling Saheli to women all across India. Saheli is different from other birth control pills because it doesn’t contain any hormones. Instead of using the hormone estrogen to prevent pregnancy, it contains a drug that blocks estrogen.
Usually, increased doses of estrogen stop a woman’s ovaries from releasing an egg. However, by blocking estrogen in the uterus, Saheli alters the uterus’ lining, which prevents a fertilised egg from implanting.
No side effects
Blocking estrogen in the uterus comes with added benefits – it has no nasty hormonal side effects. Women who take Saheli don’t experience nausea, headaches, or changes in weight. They also find their periods are lighter.
Saheli is nearly as effective as the normal birth control pill. If it's taken consistently, fewer than 2 in 100 women get pregnant within the first year, compared to fewer than 1 in 100 women with hormonal pills. By comparison, your chances of getting pregnant without using any birth control method is 85 in 100.
Bi-weekly to weekly dose
You’ve got to take Saheli twice a week for the first three months. But after that you take just one pill a week.
What this means practically is that if your period starts on Monday, you take the pill every Monday and Thursday for the first three months. Starting on the fourth month, you only take it once a week every Monday.
All the benefits minus the side effects
Not surprisingly, Saheli is advertised as comparable to the pill with all the effectiveness of hormonal birth control minus its nasty side effects. With all these benefits, one has to wonder why it's only available in India.