Guest post by Twentyeight Health, a mission-driven women’s health platform providing convenient and affordable birth control. They donate 2% of revenues to Bedsider and NIRH, and with each delivery, you are helping women in need access reproductive & sexual care.
There are many myths out there about birth control pills that are important to debunk! All women deserve to be empowered with accurate medical knowledge when making informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. Here are some common myths about birth control, along with the real answers to these myths vetted by our doctors at Twentyeight Health.
1. The pill must be taken at the exact same time every day.
It depends on the type of pill! For the mini pill (a.k.a. the progestin-only pill), it’s very important to take the pill at the same time every day within the hour. For the combination pill, it’s recommended that you take it at the same time every day within a 3 hour window. The more accurate you are, the more effective the pill is at preventing pregnancy!
2. Birth control makes you gain weight.
Every woman reacts differently to birth control, so not everyone will experience weight gain. If you do begin to experience symptoms such as weight gain after you start birth control, this can be a temporary side effect that resolves as your body adjusts to being on birth control. But if not, a doctor can often recommend a different brand or a different birth control method.
3. Birth control can impact your fertility.
The pill does not cause infertility. Many years of research demonstrate that most women return to fertility immediately after stopping the pill. Also, the data shows that women who took the pill get pregnant after stopping the pill just as quickly as women who did not use any form of hormonal birth control.
4. It’s unhealthy to use birth control to skip your period.
Many people skip their periods on birth control. It’s generally safe to do so, but it’s always best to check with your doctor first. Menstruation isn’t physiologically necessary, but some women find it helpful to know whether they are pregnant or not each month.
5. The pill starts working immediately after you take it.
The combination pill, which is the most common type of birth control pills, will be effective immediately if you take the first pill within 5 days after the first day of your period. If not, you’ll need an additional method of birth control, such as a condom, to prevent pregnancy for the first week of being on the pill.
6. All birth control methods are 100% effective.
No method of birth control is 100% effective, aside from abstinence. IUDs and implants are some of the most effective methods of birth control for preventing pregnancy. When using other forms of birth control, such as the pill, the patch, or the ring, there is more room for error by the user; therefore, these methods are typically 87-99% effective.
7. The rhythm method is just as effective as other birth control methods.
Fertility awareness methods, such as the rhythm method, are when you track your menstrual cycle so that you know when you are ovulating and avoid vaginal sex during that time. When used perfectly (i.e. tracking your cycle DAILY and using multiple tracking methods), fertility awareness methods can be 95-99% effective, but on average they are only 76-88% effective. The main reason for this is that it takes careful planning and diligence to track your cycles accurately, and some women have more variability in their menstrual cycles.
8. There are no benefits to birth control if you're not sexually active.
There are many reasons why people choose to be on birth control besides preventing pregnancy. Birth control can be used to treat acne, to regulate your period, to lessen menstrual bleeding and cramps, to manage endometriosis pain, and to treat symptoms of PCOS. Both combination and progestin-only pills can lower your risk of ectopic pregnancies, and the combination pill can also prevent or lessen bone thinning, cancer, infections, anemia, and more. Click here to learn more.
9. All birth control pills are the same.
There are essentially two different kinds of pills, the combination pill and the mini pill. Combination pills contain two types of hormones, estrogen and progestin, and can vary in amount. For the combination pills, the “monophasic” pills have an even amount of hormone throughout the month, whereas “triphasic” pills have three different amounts of hormones in a month. Mini-pills only contain progestin and every pill in the month is active, so there are no placebo pills.
10. Birth control causes cancer
Some studies show a slight increase in the risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer, but the overall risk of cancer is quite low. The pill actually decreases the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer. There is less research available on other forms of birth control.
Interested in birth control? Get an online doctor evaluation with Twentyeight Health to find what might work for you! Use the code STIX to get your doctor evaluation for free ($20). Twentyeight offers 100+ brands of FDA approved birth control pill, patch, ring and emergency contraception. Often free with insurance (including Medicaid) and starting at $16/pack without.
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