Birth Control Pills: Myths and Facts
Birth control pills are generally orally on a daily basis and have a hormonal load to regulate the level of hormones or prevent pregnancy.
It’s one of the most used tools to avoid pregnancy. However, there are myths and unknown facts surrounding them which means that the pros and cons of this oral contraceptive often aren’t really known about before you start taking it.
The pill is generally composed of two hormones: gestagen and estrogen, which enhance the action of gestagen. It’s used as a contraceptive because:
- It prevents ovulation
- It thickens the cervical mucus to prevent the reception of sperm
- It leaves the endometrium ‘blocked’ to prevent possible pregnancy
Sometimes, the contraceptive pill isn’t used as a contraceptive but is used to regulate the level of hormones, for example, in cases of irregular periods, in adolescence, etc.
Myths and realities
Are they fattening?
This is one of the most widespread myths. Medical advances and studies affirm that the contraceptive pill is not fattening. However, in some women there is a link to fluid retention and they appear more swollen.
There’s no ovulation
This is true as this contraceptive method works by inhibiting ovulation. It doesn’t allow the ovum to mature and, therefore, fertilization doesn’t occur.
However, the fact that ovulation doesn’t occur doesn’t mean that there’s no period, since, during menstruation, the endometrium is detached causing a small hemorrhage.
There’s a risk of cardiovascular or circulatory problems
This is a true, as the risks of suffering circulatory or vascular problems increase, especially if the woman is a smoker, is obese, suffers from hypertension, or suffers from clotting problems. However, in healthy women, the risk is very low.
One of the solutions to avoid this is for the woman at higher risk to take birth control pills that only contains gestagens.
Menstrual pain decreases
Many women take the contraceptive pill because there’s less pain during menstruation as prostaglandin is inhibited, which is a substance that causes contractions in the uterus and subsequent pain.
The bleeding decreases
In women who use the contraceptive pill, the endometrium doesn’t grow so much, and so when it sheds during menstruation, bleeding is less.
Do you have to carry out rest periods?
Unless recommended by a doctor or gynecologist, it isn’t necessary to take mandatory rest periods.
Is fertility affected?
This isn’t true since, once the pill is stopped, ovulation occurs again and the woman can become pregnant.
Sometimes the period won’t come for a while, a few months after stopping taking the contraceptive. This isn’t usually serious, unless it goes on for a long time. In this case, you’ll have to visit the gynecologist.
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Decrease in acne
This is because the contraceptive pill helps regulate the level of hormones, including those that cause acne. On the other hand, sometimes, it also reduces body hair and anemia.
A medical check-up isn’t necessary?
This isn’t true, as all use medications must be under medical control and monitoring and, in this case, by the gynecologist.
An analysis must be carried out every year in which the state of the liver will be evaluated. In addition, the pill can cause headaches – if these are persistent and stronger than normal, then you’ll need to visit a doctor.
Read also: Diagnosing Chlamydia: All You Need to Know
Does it prevent sexually transmitted diseases?
If you want to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, you’ll need to use a barrier method such as a condom; the use of the contraceptive pill alone isn’t enough.
Therefore, it’s important to realize that birth control pills inhibit the act of conception but don’t prevent the many diseases that can be transmitted through sex.
Tips for effective use of birth control pills
- Consult your doctor when you start using contraceptives.
- Take it every day at the same time.
- No smoking.
- Use another method if you have missed the pill for more than two days.
- Control any risk factors, such as being overweight, to avoid adverse effects such as varicose veins.
- Consult your doctor if you are taking long-term medication.
- The pill is a medicine like any other, so it’s important to monitor adverse side effects.
- Archer J, Archer D (2002). «Oral contraceptive efficacy and antibiotic interaction: a myth debunked.». J Am Acad Dermatol.
- Larimore WL, Stanford JB (2000). «Postfertilzation effects of oral contraceptives and their relationship to informed consent»
- Crockett, Susan A.; Donna Harrison, Joe DeCook, and Camilla Hersh (abril de 1999). «Hormone Contraceptives Congtroversies and Clarifications»
- American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.