Women's Health Last updated on 2022-09-26 17:41:07
Birth Control Pills: Myths & Facts
- Dr. Swati Kaktikar
- 5 Min Read
- Fact Checked
Probably, you believed in some of these yourselves?
Let’s see how many myths you know or heard someone talk about. Share this article with them.
#Myth no. 1: Birth control pills increase the risk of birth defectsSome women believe that unknowingly continuing to take the birth control pills when accidentally pregnant will harm their babies:
Fact: Relax, your baby is safe!Evidence suggests that birth control pills, if taken by mistake, will not harm the foetus when a woman accidentally gets pregnant. However, once pregnancy is confirmed, they should stop taking the pills.
#Myth no. 2: They encourage ‘promiscuity’Some people who seek family planning believe that taking birth control pills encourages promiscuity and infidelity.
Fact: There is no evidence that suggests taking pills encourage promiscuity. In fact, taking birth control pills shows responsible behaviour to avoid unintended pregnancies.
#Myth no. 3: Birth control pills do not help in endometriosis.Fact: they help in reducing the pain and discomfort caused due to endometriosis. Read a complete guide on endometriosis: Causes, symptoms, treatment, myths & facts, and more.
#Myth no. 4: I will experience health problemsSome believe that taking birth control pills causes hair loss, headaches, and asthma.
Fact: Some women may indeed experience side effects, including headaches, nausea, and bleeding patterns. However, these symptoms do not indicate any illness and usually stop within the first few months of taking them. But for women whose side effects persist, their doctor will prescribe a different formulation to manage their symptoms better.Here are some health benefits of taking birth control pills. They
- Help protect against ovarian and endometrial cancers
- Help protect against pelvic inflammatory disease
- Help protect against iron deficiency anaemia
- Help protect against ovarian cysts
- Reduce menstrual cramps and bleeding
- Reduce painful symptoms of PCOS and endometriosis
#Myths no. 5: They can accumulate anywhere and cause stones and tumoursMany women believe that birth control pills can accumulate in the stomach, ovaries, or uterus forming stones and tumours.
Fact: After the pills are swallowed, they are digested in the gut, and the hormones they contain are absorbed into the bloodstream. After the pills have had their effect, they are metabolized in the liver, where they’re broken down and eliminated from your body. They do not accumulate anywhere.
#Myth no. 6: It will reduce my libidoSome women believe taking birth control pills decreases their sex drive or pleasure.
Fact: Although some women have reported an increase or decrease in sexual interest and performance, it’s difficult to say if such changes result from these pills or other life events.
Myth no. 7: Birth control pills cause weight gainFact: Women do not gain weight as a result of birth control pill use, but some women do gain a little bit of weight when they start taking birth control pills. It’s often a temporary side effect that’s due to fluid retention and not extra fat. A woman’s weight may fluctuate due to her age or life circumstances. Because changes in weight are very common, many women attribute their weight gain or loss to pills.
Myth no. 8: Birth control pills are the only option for birth controlMany women believe that the only option they have for birth control is taking pills.
Fact: Birth control pills are just one of the many options available for birth control. Other options include condoms and copper T (IUD).Copper T, for instance, contains no hormones and is 99% effective
Myth no. 9: They cause abortionsFact: Pills cannot cause abortions. And here’s why — birth control pills only work by preventing ovulation (the process of releasing an egg from the ovary). If there is no ovulation, pregnancy won’t occur. Here’s the difference — while abortion is a process to disrupt an established pregnancy, contraception is a process to prevent pregnancy from occurring in the first place. So even if a woman is pregnant, taking pills by mistake will not cause spontaneous abortions.
Myth no. 10: Pills cause blood clots and strokesSadly, many people believe that taking pills can cause blood clots and strokes.
Fact: Taking pills, like any other medication or drug, has certain side effects. Not everybody responds to medication the same way. Some may need a different formulation. However, people over 35 who smoke and those with a history of cardiovascular disease, obesity, or certain types of migraines may have an increased risk of blood clots and strokes. Always consult a doctor to be on the safer side.
Myth no. 11: Long-term usage can make it harder to get pregnant laterMany people believe that long-term use of pills causes infertility. Is it so?
Fact: The fact is when women stop taking birth control pills, their periods and fertility will soon return to normal.Exceptions include: The contraceptive injection: It can take up to 12 to 18 months for these hormones to leave your body and for your fertility to be fully restored.
Myth no. 12: Perimenopausal women can quit using pills*Fact: The process of going through menopause can span several years. And even though your odds of conceiving decreases post 40, it’s still possible to get pregnant in the perimenopausal period. Therefore, in most cases, you will have to use some form of birth control to prevent a surprise pregnancy. Perimenopausal women can use birth control pills under doctors' guidance, as long as they are not obese, do not smoke, and have normal blood pressure with no cardiovascular disease.
Myth no. 13: Pills will imbalance my hormones and make me go “crazy”Fact: The hormones found in pills are very similar to a woman’s natural hormones. In fact, stress has a greater effect on your hormones than pills. However, if you are still not convinced, talk to your doctor about lowering your dose or considering other forms of contraception, such as condoms or copper T.
Myth no. 14: The pill is effective immediately after you begin taking itMany of us believe that taking pills will immediately stop pregnancy. But that’s not how it works.
Fact: Pills can take up to a week to work with a woman’s natural hormones to prevent ovulation. Therefore, for the pill to be effective, you must take it as directed by your doctor.Hey, how did you like our article on the myths and facts about contraception? Please feel free to share it on social media or with your friends. Also, there’s more on this topic, just in case you want to know more —
- Contraception methods: Advantages and disadvantages
- Contraceptive options for women: Which birth control method is the best?
- Pills that prevent pregnancy: Emergency contraceptive pills
A little about MFine, and what we do …We provide online doctor consultations, lab tests, and at-home care plans. Using our mobile app, you can now speak to a specialist doctor or surgeon from the comfort of your own home. Or, you could order a blood test. We provide at-home sample collection services. Check more of our services here.
*Cho MK. Use of Combined Oral Contraceptives in Perimenopausal Women. Chonnam Med J. 2018 Sep;54(3):153-158. doi: 10.4068/cmj.2018.54.3.153. Epub 2018 Sep 27. PMID: 30288370; PMCID: PMC6165915.
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