The world of birth control can be a very complex one, especially for women. While science hasn’t come around to inventing a form that men can take in order to stop them from impregnating women temporarily, we’re still hopeful that maybe one day soon that day will come. However, thankfully, there are many ways to prevent pregnancy on the female side. From IUDs, condoms, hormone-free birth control apps, to the much lesser effective pull-out method and other natural birth control options, there are many ways to safely practice sex (granted you have access to them). The most popular is the birth control or contraceptive pill. It is a daily pill you have to take.
Most birth control pills are combinations of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. They work together to prevent and stop ovulation or the release of the egg each menstrual cycle. They can also thicken cervical mucus to keep the sperm from entering the uterus. Another way they work is by thinning the lining of the uterus so a fertilized egg is less likely to attach. If there’s no egg, a woman cannot get pregnant. While this may sound like a godsend (and believe us, it is), there are some cons to taking the pill. We’ve outlined both the positives and negatives when it comes to birth control. Keep reading for more.
Pros of the Birth Control Pill
There are many pros to taking the hormonal birth control pill that doesn’t just have to do with protecting you from pregnancy. However, it is a very convenient form of birth control and contraception. It is up to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, but you have to use it perfectly to do so. So that means no missing any days and taking it at the same time. Some other things it can do are offer protection against pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause infertility if left untreated. It can also allow you to have lighter periods and regulate your periods if you are suffering from heavy ones.
It’s also perfectly safe to take as well. In regards to your menstrual cycle, it can also help decrease the frequency and pain level of the cramps you may get when you are on your cycle. Another pro that’s super important is that the pill can allow you to feel sexually spontaneous and free with your sexuality, according to VeryWell Health.
There are also many non-contraceptive benefits to taking birth control pills. Estrogen and progestin are hormones that provide health benefits. They can, especially in combination, prevent osteoporosis, anemia, ovarian cysts, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, non-cancerous breast growth, excess body hair, menstrual migraines, and prevent PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. According to VeryWell Health, the pill can also lower the risk of ovarian cancer by 27% and the risk of endometrial cancer by 50%. The protection can also last up to 30 years after you stop taking birth control pills. VeryWell Health also says if you are using this method of contraception for 6 years, you can reduce your risk by up to 60%. There’s also a 15% to 20% reduction in developing colorectal cancer among women as well.
Cons of the Birth Control Pill
There are also some negatives when it comes to taking birth control. If you use this form of contraception, you may notice that there is a period of time when your body is getting used to it. During this time (which should only last around two or three months), your body is getting used to having more hormones in it. You may have headaches, breast tenderness, nausea or vomiting, or even bleeding between periods. In some women, birth control pills can cause depression and change their sexual desire, according to Healthline.
It’s important to fully do your research behind the brand. Find reviews and be sure that you are ready for your body to possibly go through an adjustment period. Equally so, monitor your symptoms to see if they are progressing or getting worse. This way, you are able to talk to your doctor and make a plan of action. The bleeding you get when you’re on your menstrual cycle and when you’re on the pill isn’t the same as a menstrual period. It is technically called withdrawal bleeding and is the withdrawal of hormones in your pill and in your body, according to Healthline.
The birth control pill also doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections and diseases. Using a condom is important if you are having sex with more than one person and not a committed partner. According to American Pregnancy, birth control can also cause breast tenderness and increase your chance of blood clots in your lungs or legs. There is also research that suggests that taking birth control pills can increase your risk of developing breast cancer, according to VeryWell Health. Whatever your decision is on how you want to practice safe sex is your own. We recommend you go through the many methods on Planned Parenthood and make the right decision for yourself.