What you need to know about birth control pills
A lot of people who menstruate may use hormonal birth control at some point in their lives. The most obvious and well-known use for birth control is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. But, a large percentage of birth control users don’t use it for its traditional purpose. Read on ahead to know more about the features and benefits of birth control as well as some downsides of its use.
Benefits of Birth Control
Helps regulate menstrual cycle: One of the most common uses for hormonal birth control is to make irregular or unpredictable periods occur on a monthly basis. Most combination birth control pills have three weeks of active pills (containing hormones) and one week of inactive placebo pills (those that do not contain hormones). So using birth control can help schedule the periods in the week when the placebo pills are consumed.
Helps manage menstrual pain: Hormonal birth control prevents ovulation and thus, when you don’t ovulate, your uterus doesn’t experience the painful contractions that cause cramps during ovulation.
Relieves symptoms of PMS and PMDD: Hormonal birth control is often prescribed to reduce the symptoms of PMDD, which is a more serious form of PMS. Other emotional and physical symptoms of periods brought on by hormonal fluctuations can also be managed through birth control.
Reduces the risk of cancer and cysts: By preventing ovulation, hormonal birth control can prevent cysts (small, fluid-filled sacs that form in your ovaries and might be painful) from forming. Birth control may even be effective to stop former cysts from regrowing. Some forms of birth control are also known to reduce risk of uterine and ovarian cancer.
Reduces risk of anemia: Anemia is a condition wherein the blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen. Hormonal birth control is often prescribed to allow people to skip their period and prevent period-related anemia.
Helps in symptoms of PCOS: Birth control can often help in managing symptoms of PCOS like hormonal acne and excess hair growth.
The disadvantages of Birth Control Pills
- Mood Swings, Anxiety, Irritability: Due to the changes in hormone levels brought about by birth control, people might experience changes in mood, anxiety, and irritability.
- Weight fluctuation: Hormonal birth control can often lead to weight gain because of its effect on change in appetite.
- Sore Breasts: Breasts may appear enlarged and be tender to touch.
- Nausea and Bloating
- Vaginal yeast infections
- Spotting between periods
- Reduced Sex Drive
- There is a small risk of developing a condition called Thrombosis in which blood clots are formed. This risk is higher in women over the age of 40, as well as in women who smoke or are very overweight.
Hormonal birth control can be a life-changing tool for some people. It can give them independence from various physical and emotional symptoms brought on by periods as well as the ability to regulate and schedule their periods. But, one should be aware of the negative side-effects that may arise from its use.
There is also a variety of types of birth control based on different hormones and their doses. To successfully navigate through the usage of hormonal birth control, it is important to consult your doctor who can prescribe the specific drug suited to your particular problem.