Birth Control Pills
Also known as oral contraceptive pills, birth control pills are a leading birth control method used by women. These pills consist of hormones – estrogen and progestin and aim at controlling the function of ovaries and the uterus in a female body. Today, a large variety of birth control pills are available on the market. A large many birth control pills are available over the counter. However, it is advisable that women consult their gynecologist before taking any medicine.
The birth control pills have become the most studied medicines since its approval in 1960. There are many myths associated with contraceptive pills or birth control methods adopted by many women to avoid pregnancy. To opt for the right methods, don’t get influenced by various myths. Check out the following myths and facts about birth control pills and contraception.
Myths and facts about birth control pills
Myth 1: You gain weight when you take birth control pills
Fact: The most common question and myth among women are whether birth control pills make you gain weight or not. Many women worry about this. They feel that taking pills create hormonal disbalance in the body leading to weight gain. But this is actually not the case. Each woman responds differently after taking pills and in most cases, will not gain weight only because of the pill. Moreover, it is also necessary to lay more importance on a healthy lifestyle like eating healthy food and exercising regularly, which can anyhow keep the weight in control.
Myth 2: It is good to take a break from the birth control pills once in a while
Fact: There is no medical reason to support this myth. You can take the pill consecutively as long as you need it without any risk. But it is beneficial to take doctor’s advice regarding the contraceptive needs after 15 years of using the pill or at age 35.
Women who take birth pills should not stop taking the pills until the time they want to be pregnant. But taking a break for 4 to 5 days won’t make much of a difference and will get you back on track. If you do stop taking the pills, remember that pregnancy is possible.
Myth 3: When you take contraceptives, fertility is affected
Fact: For many, there is this belief that when contraceptives pills are taken for a long time to avoid pregnancy, it becomes difficult to become pregnant when you stop taking the pill. But the fact is that there might be a slight delay in the return of your fertility, but there is no permanent harm.
You cannot consider infertility as a birth control side effect. Once ovulation resumes, you can become pregnant. Most women will begin to ovulate in the first three to six months after stopping the pill.
Myth 4: Breast cancer is caused by birth control pills
Fact: Because breast cancer is related to hormones, many women feel a major side effect of using birth control pills is an increased risk of breast cancer. Well, this can be considered true to a certain extent. According to recent studies by the American Cancer Society, women who are using birth control pills have a slightly greater risk of breast cancer than women who have never used them.
But then it is also found that this risk only exists while the pill is being taken. The risk is not seen in women who stopped using the Pill more than 10 years back.
Myth 5: There are chances of being pregnant if you have sex during your periods
Fact: This is absolutely false. Your body can release an egg at any time during your cycle but your period time is the most unlikely time for ovulation.
Myth 6: Breastfeeding prevents pregnancy
Fact: Well this is also not true. Breastfeeding can stop ovulation for a while, but there is no guaranteed proof that it can be an effective birth control method.
Myth 7: Washing the vagina after intercourse prevents pregnancy
Fact: This is called douching and douching is no way related to birth control. Women believe that sperms can be flushed out after intercourse by washing. But this is not true. Douching does not prevent pregnancy or infection.
Myth 8: Withdrawal method can prevent pregnancy
Fact: Withdrawal means your partner pulls out before ejaculating. But then this is not a guaranteed birth control option. It is only effective for about 75%, meaning one out every four women will become pregnant in a year if she has opted for this method.
Myth 9: Birth control methods also protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Fact: For sexual activity, two things need to be considered. Pregnancy prevention and infectious disease protection. However, it is to be noted that not all birth control options provide protection against infection transmission. The only forms of birth control that protect against STDs are barrier forms such as condoms.
For proper guidance, it is always better to talk to your doctor and get information from reliable sources.
Side Effects of Contraceptive Pills
The practice of birth control is as old as human existence. In today’s world, every couple would like to go for birth control methods for their own personal reasons, which could be lifestyle-related, economic, or even environmental. However, once a couple has decided to go forward with a birth control decision, they should carefully evaluate the use of various options in terms of their pros and cons.
Birth control pills or oral contraception which is one of the most commonly used methods for birth control has side effects, which one should be aware of. Birth control pills have been in the market for the last 50 years and have consistently been improved to lower the side effect issue. But still, some side effects still persist with the use of these oral contraceptives.
A lot of improvement has been made in birth control pills. Many young women even report no side effects while some report minor side effects. But still, some women may experience commonly associated side effects such as irregular menstrual bleeding, nausea, headaches, dizziness, and breast tenderness. Some women may even experience mood changes and blood clots.
It has been observed that some of these side effects improve over the first three months of use. Women may also change to a different birth control pill if the side effects continue to persist.