What are the pros and cons of birth control, specifically the pill?
Oral contraception or “the pill” is still the most popular method of birth control in the United States. For many, it’s a girl’s best friend! Sadly, there are more urban legends and myths about the safety and side effects surrounding the pill than any medication I know. Did you know that 50% of pregnancies in the US are unplanned? In addition to being a great form of birth control, the pill can help women who have disruptive and horrible cramping and heavy bleeding during their period.
What don’t we love about the pill?
- Irregular bleeding
- Breast tenderness
- Doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (so using a condom is a MUST!)
You cannot take the pill if you have high blood pressure, a history of blood clots, strokes, older than 35 and smoke and have migraine headaches with an aura.
It’s important to know that these side effects are temporary, and if they don’t go away in two to three months, you should change to another type of pill–because there are many different types and combinations of estrogen and progesterone depending on your side effects and body type.
What do we love about the pill?
- Prevents pregnancy
- Periods are lighter
- Periods are regular
- Controls painful cramping
- Controls irregular and heavy periods
- Controls acne
- Balance hormone levels
- Treat symptoms associated with PMS
- Protects against ovarian cancer
- Is covered by most insurance plans
Most Common Myths about the Pill
1. I am going to gain weight! Study after study shows that weight gain is not a side effect of the pill. Adolescence or going off to college is when most women start the pill, and this is also a time that young women tend to gain weight.
2. The pill will make me infertile. No evidence to show this.
3. The pill will make me have breast and other types of cancers. There is no evidence to show that the pill significantly increases breast cancer risk or other types of cancers. In fact, the pill gives you protection against ovarian, uterine and colorectal cancers.
4. You need to take a break if you have been on the pill a long time. There is no medical reason to support this.
Oral contraception has many health benefits—in addition to being a great birth control! For most women, the health benefits outweigh the risks!
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