“The pill”. It’s one of those things that many womxn have an experience with at some point in their lives. If they themselves haven’t experienced it, chances are they have heard stories from others about it and let’s be honest- birth control pills usually get a bad rap. We hear about people who experience depression, unhealthy weight gain, breakouts, drastic mood swings, and other negative symptoms. These are definitely very real side effects of taking oral birth control that we need to be mindful of and have conversations about. We cannot belittle their significance. However, we should also be mindful of the fact that birth control pills have been a game changer for many. Let’s dive into the positives of “the pill”.
Birth control pills can help with your period journey by making those cramps a little less severe and taking that flow from raging Nile river to rain drop level. On a more long term scale, taking birth control pills has been shown to reduce (not eliminate) the risk of both uterine and ovarian cancer. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports a study that demonstrates womxn taking combination birth control pills are 50% less likely to contract uterine cancer. Additionally, a study by the Royal College of General Practitioners, shows that taking oral contraceptives reduces the risk of ovarian cancer, but it also points out an important consideration that this reduction in risk may be due to other factors outside of the experiment that may influence results––like exposure to chemicals, smoking habits, etc.
Speaking of our gorgeous ovaries, another benefit of taking birth control pills is that it can help reduce the risk of developing ovarian cysts because these pills prevent ovulation. This not only helps prevent new ovarian cysts from growing, but it also helps to reduce the chance that old ones will grow back. It is important to note that these cysts themselves do not impose danger, but are painful and can be an indicator of other diseases.
The last, and one of the most well known, benefits to taking hormonal birth control is that it can help out with hormonal acne. While it certainly does not work for all types of acne, it can be a good solution to those who struggle with acne around their period when their hormones are in greatest fluctuation.
With all of that being said, it’s super important to do your homework before choosing whether or not to go on “the pill”. There are many pros and cons to taking birth control pills and you can make the choice that is best for you by exploring what feels good for your body and having a conversation with your health care provider about what birth control, if any, is right for you.
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