The Truth Behind Birth Control Pills: How It Affects You

By in Health & Safety on 08 March 2011

The use of birth control pills is a convenient and reliable method of preventing pregnancy. But despite its proven effectiveness, some women are still unsure whether the use of oral contraceptives is safe. For some women, they choose to believe on birth control myths because they have disturbingly lingered despite the fact that these pills have been commercially available decades ago. And even with health care providers  negating the most popular myths known today, some women still prefer to stay on the safe side and avoid its use altogether. For others, they may choose not to use pills because they may know somebody who claimed that these ill effects were indeed true. But if you want to know the facts, read on:

Myth 1 – Birth control pills can cause weight gain.

This myth survived the times because the pills that were manufactured decades ago really caused weight gain. The older pills contained so much more estrogen and progestin which made weight gain inevitable. High doses of estrogen can stimulate the appetite and it can also lead to water retention.

The pills that are available today are already low dose formulations. While the effect may vary from person to person, these newer pills have been found to cause the least water retention. And in many cases, the weight gain is usually temporary and it usually goes away after the first 3 months of use. But if you notice that you have gained some weight, talk to your doctor. With varied formulations, women also get different side effects so there is a chance that you won’t gain weight with the other type of pill.

Myth 2 – Taking pills can lead to infertility.

Infertility is closely associated with the use of oral contraceptives because there are repeated claims by women that conception has become more difficult after getting off the pill. But it has been found that the real culprit is not really the use of pills but it is rather a woman’s decision to put off pregnancy at a later age. In such a case, a woman may no longer be as fertile as she was five or ten years ago.

When you stop taking the pills, your hormones will slowly normalize thereby making pregnancy very much possible. The time when a woman can get pregnant after stopping oral contraceptives may vary, but it will largely depend on when the body gets rid of the hormones and regains its normal function. For some individuals, this usually takes around two to three months.

Myth 3 – Oral contraceptives can increase your chances of developing cancer.

Studies have shown that taking oral contraceptives can reduce a woman’s chance of developing uterine and ovarian cancer. It has been found that after one year of taking the pill, a woman’s risk of developing endometrial cancer decreases by 50 percent. And with long term use, the risk of developing endometrial and ovarian cancer continues to decrease because the endometrium is kept thin and the ovaries are inactive.

There are conflicting views on the effect of pills on the development of breast cancer. While it has been found that oral contraceptives do not significantly increase a woman’s risk for the disease, doctors are still careful and they will evaluate a woman’s health  risks first prior to recommending a particular type of oral contraceptive.

What are your concerns regarding the use of birth control pills? What are the side effects that you experienced while taking it?

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