All Your Birth Control Pill Questions Answered!
While condoms are the simplest to use, birth control pills are the safest when it comes to contraception methods. All medications have their pros and cons. And going on the pill seems harmless when you do it at first. I was 15 years old when I went abroad and met women my age from European countries. They all claimed to be on the pill. It wasn’t just a pregnancy prevention method for them but rather a quotidian habit just to keep their periods coming regularly.
At first, the young Indian girl in me was appalled to know that this was even possible. Those 15-year-old women could casually form decisions about something as menacing as a birth control pill made no sense to me. Funnily enough, I soon realized it wasn’t that menacing at all. Two years later, I was on the pill too for the exact same reason – establishing a routine of bleeding and regulating my hormones. And now four years since then, I want to do anything but have to take a birth control pill. Even though the frantic hormones in my body beg for it sometimes.
What Does The Pill Really Do?
Not all pills are the same. Some only contain progestin. And others are combination pills that contain the hormones both estrogen and progesterone. The birth control pill not only gives you a stress-less sexual experience because you don’t have to worry about getting pregnant. But it has a lot of other functions to serve a woman’s body. Lightening periods and making them less painful is one of them. Pills also help in reducing the risk of ovarian cysts, endometriosis, and PMS. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, doesn’t it? Hell, they can even prevent acne. The hormonal pill sounds like the average woman’s paradise.
Interestingly, that paradise comes with a long list of bills. Taking a hormonal birth control pill is just not as simple as you think. The side effects caused by them are only the tip of the iceberg. The long-term use of these can cause toxicity in the body and also nutrient depletion.
The difficulties with the birth control pill
Not everyone has side effects. But weight gain, migraines, nausea, and breast tenderness are only some of the short-term problems. The worst one of all is the depressive symptom. It affects your mood severely leading to a host of symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. In fact, it can be so harrowing that almost half of the women who go on the pill stop using it within the first year because of the side effects. Now, this is a congruent thought process to an extent, everywhere starting from groundbreaking studies conducted in Denmark to AskWomen Reddit groups. There are also other studies disproving the same and breaking that chain of thought completely. But I’m just going to go ahead and stick with the anecdotes of the women on Reddit groups and my own experience.
However, one great thing that has come out from this conversation centered around birth control is the conversation around contraception at large. More women are clearly willing to look into, understand and choose the right kind of contraception for themselves. Synthetic hormones are only meant to mimic a woman’s actual hormones and produce completely different results. Now that cannot be expected to be the most natural process or yield perfect results but it gets the original job done pretty well.
Racheal Polis, a pediatric and adolescent gynecologist with the Crozer-Keystone Health System said about birth control pills, ‘Not one size fits all’. She advises testing and understanding a patient’s psychological health before resorting to prescribing them birth control pills. This helps her better understand her patient’s needs and allows her to uniquely tailor a program fit for each woman. Only some are susceptible to the side effect and with more research on a micro and macro level, that number will also diminish. It is also important as a patient and a woman to know what one is getting oneself into and identify the risks involved.
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