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The decision to go on birth control is a big one and not something to be taken lightly. Whatever the reason you decide to go on it, it is valid and entirely your choice. Some people may choose to go on in order to practice safe sex, have a less painful and more controlled period, control acne or balance hormone levels. 

When you decide to go on birth control, the first and most important step is to consult a trusted doctor. The doctor can help you determine what form of birth control is right for you and your body. The amount of options might seem overwhelming at first, especially when you are first starting birth control. Some common forms of birth control are the pill, an IUD, the patch, the shot, or the implant. It is important to discuss all options with a doctor to find the one that fits best with both your body and your schedule. For example, a person who has a very irregular daily schedule might have difficulty taking the pill every day at the same time and might prefer a different method.

The road to finding the perfect birth control might not always be easy, but it is nothing to be ashamed of. In some cases, birth control might not work for a person at all. It is important to understand that the same birth control might not work for everyone. Some common side effects of birth control can be breakthrough bleeding, headaches, mood swings or even depression. In my experience, I went through three different types of pills before finding the one that was right for me. It is very much a matter of trial and error. However, it is very rewarding to finally find the right birth control for you. Keep an open conversation with your doctor. Tell them when you feel you are having worse-than-normal side effects or you feel unhappy with the birth control you are on. 

It is not an uncommon experience to have little to no education on birth control or practicing safe sex while in grade school. Women’s health is often a topic that is considered “taboo” or not appropriate to teach to young girls. However, it is a matter of extreme importance. To send a young woman into the world unaware of sexual health or how to practice safe sex is not only unfair but harmful. All women deserve to be educated on how to practice safe sex. If you are confused about how to do so and think that birth control might be a good option for you, seek out the advice of a trusted family member or friend if you feel comfortable and schedule a visit with a doctor. Seek out reliable web or book sources that teach you about how your reproductive system works and how to practice safe sex. There is no shame in having sex and no shame in taking birth control, no matter what the form is.

Mackenzie Meleski is a passionate writer for Her Campus at VCU. She is currently double majoring in International Studies and Mass Communications. She loves her two cats, Leo and Loki, and her dog, Lucy. You will probably find her online shopping or watching reruns of The Great British Bake Off.
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