How Can Birth Control Affect You And Your Menstrual Cycle?

By Leanne Barbarito

Many people go on birth control at a young age and don't necessarily know what the added hormones can do to your body.  Some hormonal birth control options are the birth control pill, birth control arm implant, the birth control patch, and IUDs. 

I started taking birth control pills at 17 years old for irregular periods, unaware of the side effects it would have on my body.  Although there were many positive results like clearer skin and less cramps, there were also negative outcomes.  I gained weight, was depressed, and still had irregular periods.

I understand that not every pill or hormonal birth control will have these same outcomes. What works for one person, might not work for another.  Finding the right birth control option for you might take multiple tries.  

I have been on three different pills and was miserable on all of them.  Last year, I made the switch to a very low hormonal IUD and I have never felt better.  With hormonal IUDs, the hormones stay fairly local to your uterus. I am happier, my skin is still clear, and my periods are regular.  There are also non-hormonal IUDs made of copper if you don't want any hormones at all from your birth control.

Now, what do the added hormones in your birth control option exactly do to your body?

The higher levels of estrogen and progestin in birth control stop the ovary from releasing an egg for sperm to fertilize.  Progestin makes the cervical mucus thicker, so sperm can't even enter the uterus.

The most common side effects from birth control are spotting between periods, breast tenderness, migraines, weight gain, mood changes, and missed periods.

When discussing birth control options with your healthcare provider, I would definitely make sure that you have done your research on different brands and options, so you can weigh out the pros and cons together.  

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