If there's one thing millennial women get mixed messages about, it's birth control. No matter your views on this hot topic, it's easy to get confused by the plethora of options available- and that's without even touching on the other methods that aren't taken orally. For the most part, options are a good thing, but nowhere is contraception confusion more evident than with the many things to know about birth control pills.
The term "the pill" refers to any oral contraceptive taken to reduce the chances of getting pregnant. And because there are many different kinds of oral contraceptives available a lot of questions tend to arise. So to clear things up once and for all, I spoke to Chase Cawyer, the resident obstetrician at Baylor Scott and White Health about the various pros and cons of oral contraceptives.
After speaking with a professional, I for one am much more confident in my birth control smarts. He cleared up any doubts I had in the effectiveness of oral contraceptives as well as brought up a few concerns that are important for every woman to consider when deciding on what kind of birth control to adopt. Deciding on a birth control method, like any decision about our bodies, is definitely not one to take lightly. So before setting yourself up with a prescription, make sure to take a look at the pros and cons of birth controll pills.
1. Pro: It Reduces Risk Of Cancer
Cawyer prolonged use of birth control has been shown to "reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, with this protective effect potentially persisting up to 30 years after cessation of pills". He went on to say that the pill has also been shown to reduce rise of endometrial cancer which is "likely related to the progestin effect" of the pills.
2. Pro: It Eliminates Acne
Certain oral contraceptives can inhibit the production of the male hormone testosterone, which, according to Cawyer, can lead to less hormonal issues, like acne.
3. Con: You Have To Take It Every Day
"For some women who cannot remember to take them everyday, most of the benefits become negated almost immediately," Cawyer says. So if you have a hard time remembering to brush your teeth or turn off your straightener, oral contraceptives may not be for you.
4. Pro: it Decreases Menstrual Discomfort
Cawyer says oral contraceptives can be used to control or even eliminate your period. *Insert hallelujah chorus here*
5. Con: It Can Decrease Sex Drive
Though studies suggesting this are limited, there may still be a chance of decreased libido when on the pill. But Cawyer notes that this is "dependent on the type of oral contraception used and how the patient's body reacts to it."
6. Pro: It Can Ease Migraine Pain
If you're one of the nearly 18 percent of women who suffer from migraines, this is great news. If your migraines are directly related to your menstrual cycle, oral contraceptives will most likely help tame them Cawyer notes. But he also cautions that women with certain types of migraines, such as visual aura may not be able to take oral contraceptives at all.
7. Con: It Can Increase Risk Of Heart Disease Or Stroke
"Oral contraceptives are known to increase your risk of a deep vein thrombosis or more severely a stroke," Cawyer says. This is most common if you have family history of this disease, so as with all health matters, be sure to discuss with your physician before starting the pill.