Birth Control

Most Common Myths About Birth Control Pills

#1: Weight gain.

Will you gain weight as result of taking birth control pills?

This is a very common question among women taking such pills, but many clinical trials have shown that birth control pills do not affect weight. On the other hand, they actually may be causing your weight gain indirectly. For example, the estrogen contained in the pill may cause a bloating sensation. However, this side effect usually goes away quickly. Another factor we need to take into consideration is the progestin. This hormone can increase your appetite, which can lead to weight gain. Water retention caused by the pills can also result in more kilos, but you can minimize this side effect by reducing the dose of your medication. Besides, in many cases, women decide to start taking the pills at the same time they are going through a weight change.

#2: Taking birth control pills for a long time is not healthy.

Many people have the common belief that it’s not healthy to take birth control pills too often or for a long time. Others think that you need to take a break from using the pill in order to avoid some unwanted side effects. The reality is that there are no relevant medically proved reasons for taking a break from using the pill. Specialists say that birth control pills can be used even for 15 or more years consecutively without having any negative reactions. Doctors recommend checking your contraceptive needs after 15 years of using the pill, or after turning 35. Taking a break from strong contraceptives (birth control pills) may increase the chances of getting pregnant. Another possible side effect of taking a break from the medication is experiencing the same symptoms you felt, when you took it for the first time.

#3: Birth control pill may cause birth defects.

Birth control pills have been submitted to various researches in order to prove its safeness and determine any possible negative effects on women’s health. As many other medications, birth control pills have certain health risks, but they do not threaten your health. Based on the experience of over 100 million pill users, the quality of life is better, if you do take the pill rather than if you don’t. The reason is the health benefits the pill provides. For example, it minimizes the PMS symptoms, regulates menstrual cycles, helps you skip periods or even lowers the number of periods you have per year. The pill is the safest contraceptive available, and it is not linked to any birth defects.

#4: Birth control pill may affect your fertility.

According to specialists, infertility is not linked to the use of contraceptive pills. Once you stop taking the pill, fertility will return, which is the main reason you should not miss your dose, if you don’t want to get pregnant. Women taking the pills may experience a small childbearing delay in their late 30s, which in fact is the period when a woman’s fertility gets weaker. This is why people confuse a normal aging process with infertility caused by birth control pills.

#5: All birth control pills are the same.

The same way there are many brands for regular medications, we can also find different kinds of birth control pills. The main difference between theme lies in the hormone content. We can classify birth control pills in two main groups:

● Combination pills (that contain progestin and estrogen).
● Progestin only pills (that contain only progestin).

In addition, the pills affect the bodies of different women in a different way (according to each organism), which is why each brand may provide distinct benefits to women.

#6: You should not take the pills at all, if you are a smoker.

It is very important for women to be honest with doctors about their smoking habits before taking them. Smoking increases the chances of having a stroke. If you are over 35, and you are a regular smoker and pill taker, your risk of having a stroke increases. This is why doctors do not prescribe pills to smokers over that age. You can decrease the risk by taking a lower dose or progestin-only pills.

#7: Birth control pills can lead to blood clots.

Overweight women are more likely to have cardiovascular risks, which means they are more likely to develop a negative side effect after taking birth control pills. However, overweight women can still use the pill. Doctors recommend them to use a slightly higher dose, in order to have better results.

#8: The middle of your menstrual cycle is the riskiest time to miss the pill.

Commonly, the most fertile time for a woman is around the 8 to 19 day of her cycle, therefore, many people think you it is dangerous to skip the dose during this time. You need to keep in mind, that while you are taking the pill, your menstrual cycle is not normal, since you are not ovulating. This is why there is no period during the month when you would be most fertile.

You will need to take the pill for seven consecutive days (if you are taking a 28-day birth control pack) in order to stop the ovulation process. After that, you can stop taking the pill for the last seven days, without having the risk of getting pregnant. The worst time to miss a pill, is at the beginning or at the end of the cycle, this is when you have a higher pregnancy risk.

Women often think it is not a big deal to miss the pill at the end of the cycle, but this is not true. Skipping the last pill means your body might not have enough hormones in order to stop the ovulation process.

#9: Contraception is the only use of the pill.

Birth control pills have evolved since their appearance on the market in 1960. On this day, the pills and other options like Patches, Mirena IUD or NuvaRings may offer not only contraceptive advantages, but also some other health benefits like:

• Control of the timing of your period;
• Absence of ovulation pain;
• Minimized PMDD symptoms;
• Less unwanted facial and body hair;
• Lower risk of having anemia;
• Improvement in acne;
• Breast growth;
• Help with pelvic inflammatory disease;
• No menstrual migraines;
• Prevention of osteoporosis.

#10: Women over 35 should not take the pill.

As mentioned earlier, healthy women are not at risk of having negative side effects after using birth control pills, and they can often use a lower dose until the menopausal period. Speaking about women in their late 40’s, the pills might actually provide even more benefits. Birth control pills can only be risky for women over 35, if they are regular smokers.

Do Teenagers Need Permission to Use Birth Control Pills?

Any teenager who wants to start taking a birth control treatment needs to have a doctor’s prescription. Doctors don’t need their parents’ authorization in order to prescribe the pill to a teenager. The only requirement for teenagers is to fully understand all the potential risks and the effects of taking the pill. Although birth control pills have shown to be a safe treatment even for teenage girls, starting this contraceptive treatment is an important decision to take for a teenager and they should first discuss it with their parents.

Can the Pill Cause Cancer?

Many people think that the use of birth control pills might lead to different types of cancer.
According to specialists, this is not true. Using the pill is not related to cancer development – in fact, the pill has a positive effect against some types of it.

By using the pill, you low the risk of developing ovarian or uterine cancer. With each year of taking the pill, the protection against these cancers increases. Doctors recommend taking the pill at least for 5 years, in order to prevent ovarian cancer.

By using the pill, you also reduce the risk of developing endometrial cancer.

Some clinical trials point out that the pill might lower the risk of having colorectal cancer.

Recent studies, show that cervical cancer may be related to the use of the birth control pills, but the risk might also decrease when you stop taking it. Cervical cancer can be effectively treated if detected on time, which is why doctors recommend showing up for regular check-ups, in order to screen for cervical cancer. An HPV vaccine is another way to prevent cervical cancer, you can consult your health provider about getting this injection.

Conclusion

There are many myths about birth control pills, but most of them are not based on any scientific data. Before making any decision about quitting your birth control treatment, we suggest that you discuss it with your doctor first.