Birth Control is for More Than Just Preventing Pregnancy
When people think of birth control, they think it’s for preventing pregnancy. But birth control does so much more than that.
The Guttmacher Institute found that more than half (58%) of all birth control pill users rely on the method (at least in part) for something other than preventing pregnancy. And, more than 1.5 million women take birth control to help their overall health and well-being.
Here are five reasons beyond preventing pregnancy that people use birth control. For answers to your specific questions about birth control use, make an appointment to talk to a provider at your nearest The Right Time health center.
1. Regulating periods and relieving PMS/PMDD symptoms:
From irregular periods to painful and heavy periods, hormonal birth control methods (such as the pill or IUD) can help you regulate your period or stop your period all together (yes, you can safely skip your period). Birth control can also help lighten the flow and ease PMS symptoms, such as severe cramps, breast soreness, bloating, etc.
2. Controlling acne
During your period, hormone fluctuations can make acne worse. Hormonal birth control can help manage acne, and many forms of birth control have been approved by the FDA as treatment. But not all forms of hormonal birth control may work, so talk to a provider about testing different options until you find the one that’s right for you and your skin.
3. Managing and preventing medical conditions
Birth control has a variety of health benefits for certain medical conditions. If you’re one of the 36 million Americans who suffer from migraines, some birth control methods, such as the pill or IUD, can help regulate or even eliminate menstrual migraines by reducing the drop in hormone levels prior to and during your period that leads to a migraine.
Many people suffer from endometriosis, a condition where tissue grows outside of your uterus instead of inside it. Some types of birth control, such as the pill, patch, shot, and IUD can help elevate and manage symptoms of endometriosis such as pain and heavy period bleeding by regulating and/or eliminating your period. But, while birth control can help relieve the pain, it’s not a treatment for endometriosis, itself.
4. Reduce your risk of cancer and cysts
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) makes a period worse than annoying, it’s severely painful. For those who do not want to become pregnant, treating PCOS often involves taking hormonal birth control to manage symptoms like painful periods, acne, and excess body hair. The pill, the patch, and the ring work by preventing ovulation which reduces the number of cysts on the ovary. The pill reduces your risk of ovarian cancer by at least 40%—and the longer you use it, the more it helps!
5. Bleed on your own terms
Whether you’re about to go on a beach vacation, have an event coming up, or just don’t want to bleed, birth control allows you to bleed when you want to. With some types of the pill, you can decide if you want to have your period that month or not, and with other pills—as well as IUDs, the ring, and the patch—you can skip your period all together.
As you can see, birth control helps people get on top of their overall well-being. If you’re experiencing any of the conditions above or thinking of getting on a birth control for any reason, talk to a provider at your nearest The Right Time health care provider to find the option that works best for you.
Updated January 2022
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