“Organic”, “Steroid Free”, “All Natural”. We live in a time where everywhere we look we are being reminded of the dangers that come from those long lists of chemicals we shove into our bodies. From shampoos to green teas and even cotton linens, we are being told to stay away from anything that we can’t pronounce.
So what about birth control? I mean, at this point I’m almost terrified to throw back a chicken nugget! I worry that in the future I will somehow grow some crazy cancer or my kids will end up looking more like the Jolly Green Giant than me!
The pill, shot, and ring are hormones (progestin and estrogen) that go into the bloodstream to stop your ovaries from releasing eggs and vuala! You’re baby free! Well, 99.99% of the time and only if taken right, that is. I don’t know about you, but that sounds too good to be true.
And anyways, I’m already crazy enough, especially during that time of the month! What in the world will happen if I pop a magic pill filled with chemically man-made hormones?!
Sure, we’ve heard those stories. There are those perfect girls who take birth control without a care in the world and live happily ever after. And then we’ve heard those stories from a friend who has a friend that has a friend that has a cousin who gained 15 pounds at the first ounce of the pill or shot. Let’s not forget about that one girl in middle school who got on the pill and all of sudden her face cleared up! Do you remember her? She grew hips like Shakira!
It’s a mess. A big, uncomfortable mess. So where is the line drawn between fact and fiction? Here are truths and lies about birth control.
1. Birth control will lower your sex drive.
That’s awkward. It’s ironic how you take a pill so you can have a more carefree sex life but it might actually lessen your libido. The pill reduces levels of testosterone, which could be to blame.
2. The pill is listed as carcinogenic.
According to the World Health Organization, birth control pills are listed as cancer-causing agents. Scary, isn’t it? While the number is low, studies show that birth control has been linked to breast and ovarian cancer.
3. Birth control will affect your fertility.
Well, duh! You’re taking a hormone that is going to prevent your ovaries from releasing an egg, but birth control won’t have a long-term effect on fertility. Even the shot (Depo), which lasts longer than the pill, patch, or ring, wears off the following year after you stop taking it.
4. The pill is free.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the contraceptive mandate requires that most private health insurance plans cover birth control.
5. Birth control is going to make me fat.
Kind of true, kind of not
The pills today have less hormones in them than they used to, which doesn’t lead to weight gain. However, the shot, which does contain higher levels of hormones, can lead to weight gain.
6. Birth control won’t affect my mood.
While a perfectly balanced hormone birth control is ideal, birth control will mess with your mood if not taken correctly. Side effects such as nausea, spotting, and fatigue are possible if the birth control is too strong for you. That’s enough to make anyone go crazy, hormones or not! This is why it’s important to talk to your doctor about what is going on with your body. It’s their job to help, and they will.
The truth is that birth control is something serious. It’s not something you should take advice about from your older sister’s best friend’s neighbor. It’s something that can be beneficial, but, just like anything in life, we need to be fully aware of what we put into our bodies.
A women’s body is unique and complex, so not everything is going to work the same for everybody. It’s important that we educate ourselves and aren’t afraid to ask questions. When you go see your doctor, ask questions, and a bunch of them. Let your doctor know when your body is acting funny because 9 times out of 10, your body is the one you should be listening to.