Let’s face it…birth control can be super confusing. Almost as confusing as choosing the right organic tampons. There are so many different kinds and you probably have heard a bunch of rumors about the pros and cons. Well, we’ve done some research and broken it down for you. Here we go!
There are many different types of birth control and it’s important to choose the one that’s best for you and your lifestyle. Different types of birth control come with similar benefits and risks, but keep in mind, each body may react differently.
Disclaimer: While birth control may help to prevent pregnancy, it will not protect against STD’s, so always practice safe sex 😉
Forms of Birth Control:
Pills: Oral contraceptives that are taken every day. They contain different amounts of estrogen and progestin.
The Patch: These are placed on the skin and must be changed once a week. They also contain both estrogen and progestin.
The Ring: It also has estrogen and progestin, but it is placed inside the vagina (like a tampon) so the vaginal lining can take in the hormones. The ring should be changed once a month.
The Shot: The shot must be administered at your doctor’s office every 12 weeks. It only contains progestin.
IUD: This stands for intrauterine device. It can come with or without hormones. It is inserted in your uterus by your doctor and should be replaced every 3-10 years.
How Birth Control Works:
The body naturally produces the hormones estrogen and progestin. When you take a form of birth control that has hormones, you are using a synthetic version of those hormones to increase your production. When the levels of estrogen or progestin are higher than normal, the ovaries stop releasing eggs. No eggs means there’s nothing for sperm to fertilize. Voila! Pregnancy averted.
You can still continue to have a period every month, but it is called withdrawal bleeding, or a fake period. It is not the same as an actual menstrual period. The reason you bleed is that hormone levels change during your placebo week (week 4 when you don’t take your pill, remove the patch, or take out the ring). Because you’re not taking hormones, the lining of your uterus can weaken thus causing bleeding. There is actually no biological or medical reason to have a period while taking hormonal birth control.
That said, there are some amazing benefits that actually draw people to birth control, contraceptive use aside.
#1 Lighter, more regular periods. The pill is often prescribed to help regulate periods and lessen a heavy flow.
#2 Clear skin. Trials have shown that using a contraceptive can reduce acne.
#3 Reduced pain and cramps. Birth control usually helps to reduce or even eliminate cramps caused by your period.
#4 Relieve symptoms of PMS. Using a contraceptive can help balance hormonal fluctuations during PMS.
#5 Curtail unwanted hair growth. Birth control can help alleviate unwanted hair growth and diminish thickness.
#6 Reduce the risk of endometrial or ovarian cancer. Studies haven’t really been able to prove a cause-and-effect, but people who take contraceptives, generally tend to have a lower risk.
As with any drug, birth control does have side effects. Side Effects include:
# 1 Nausea. This usually occurs in the first 3 months and can be helped when the pill is taken after a meal.
#2 Blood clots. Blood clots occur especially if you’re over 35 or a smoker, have high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes.
#3 Headaches or Migraines. Increased estrogen may make migraines worse if you already experience them.
#4 Depression. Disruption of naturally occurring hormones can cause mood swings and/or depression.
#5 Weight gain. Some studies have shown that contraceptives can cause a slight increase in weight.
#6 Spotting, missed periods, or no period. Spotting usually occurs in the first few months of taking a contraceptive if you missed a pill or if you have changed your form of birth control.
#7 Increases the risk of cervical and breast cancer.
We hope you found this information helpful, but remember we are definitely not PHD’s so you should absolutely check with your doctor to discuss the birth control that’s right for you.