When you’d like to prevent pregnancy, birth control pills are one of the most popular methods with over 99% effectiveness. But, did you know that there are numerous other reasons to consider taking birth control beyond preventing pregnancy? Here are some of the additional benefits:
- Regulate menstrual cycle: That time of the month isn’t exactly always pleasant, but it can be even worse if you never know when it is going to occur. One month it may last 3-4 days only to start again two weeks later and last for 7 days. If you have irregular periods or heavy bleeding, hormonal birth control methods may help to regulate your menstrual making periods lighter and more consistent.
- Less painful periods: An estimated 31% of women who use birth control pills say that menstrual cramps are one of their main reasons for taking them. Hormonal birth control, such as the pill, prevents pregnancy by preventing ovulation. Without ovulation, your uterus has no need to contract thus resulting in less painful periods.
- Improve the appearance of your skin: Acne that occurs during adolescence is often triggered by fluctuating hormones. That’s why hormonal acne in women commonly occurs during or following pregnancy. Birth control pills containing the hormones estrogen and progesterone are proven to help reduce or eliminate acne.
- Relieve symptoms of PMS: Painful cramps aren’t the only symptom commonly associated with your period. The hormonal fluctuations that occur leading up to your period may also cause premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)–a form of PMS whose symptoms include mood swings, depression, anger, anxiety and irritability. Some birth control methods may help relieve these symptoms.
- Manage Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition in which women have a hormone imbalance. Trademark symptoms include acne, excess body hair, weight gain, irregular periods and heavy bleeding. Birth control pills can help balance testosterone levels and regulate bleeding associated with PCOS.
- Manage endometriosis: Another condition affecting the female reproductive system, endometriosis occurs when the tissue lining the uterus grows in places other than inside your uterus. It causes both pain and inflammation. Hormonal birth control methods, continuous birth control pills and intrauterine devices (IUDs) can help manage endometriosis because they allow you to skip periods.
- Reduce the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer: In 2019, an estimated 61,800 new cases of uterine cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. However, women who take combination birth control pills are 50% less likely to develop uterine cancer. It is also proven to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer–the fifth leading cause in cancer deaths among women.
- Reduce the risk of ovarian cysts: During ovulation, small cysts may form in your ovaries. While these cysts aren’t considered harmful, they are often painful, particularly for women with PCOS who have a large number of these small cysts. Because they prevent ovulation from occurring, hormonal birth control can also help prevent these cysts from forming and help prevent the regrowth of former cysts.
As with any medication, women who take birth control may experience side effects. However, in many cases, the benefits far outweigh them. Keep in mind, it can take trying several different types of birth control before you find one that works best for your individual needs.
If you are interested in taking birth control to prevent pregnancy or for any of the reasons listed above, call (919) 876-8225 to schedule an appointment with Raleigh OB/GYN. Our providers can help recommend which method will work best for you based on your current health status, medical history, lifestyle and preferences.