Birth control methods have long been besieged by unproven myths, which abstain the people using their appropriate contraceptive method. In this article, we will discuss some of such myths and will uncover truth behind them.
- Contraceptives cause cancer
Fact: this myth is partially true, because the literature suggests that birth controls may increase the risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer, although it is very rare.
Scientists validate that oestrogen and progesterone stimulate the growth of some cancers including breast cancer and cervical cancer. This is because birth control pills mimic the levels of these hormones, may lead to increased risk of cancer.
On the other hand, scientists also theorize cancer-protective effects of hormonal contraceptives. Due to their ability to suppress cell proliferation of endometrium they prevent endometrial cancer. By restricting ovulation from ovaries, they prevent development and growth of ovarian cancer.
- Contraceptives cause weight gain
Fact: the myth is untrue. Generally, this is a major falsehood about birth controls, that you may gain weight while on the pills. However, literature shows contrasting reports about contraceptives and weight gain.
In 2014, participants of moderate weight and with obesity were examined while taking hormonal contraceptives. There was no significant gain in weight of their bodies observed. Another study in 2016 reported that those women who take low dose pills of progestogen may increase few pounds of their body, which is very mild weight gain observed.
- Contraceptives cause infertility
Fact: this myth is untrue. Birth control methods like pills, patch, ring and IUDs can temporarily halt your pregnancy, but their effects can be reversed when you stop taking contraceptives. Your menstrual cycle returns back to normal and regular routine after few months and you can conceive after ceasing the course of contraception.
This is evidenced by a study conducted in 2011, which compared the rates of pregnancy among contraceptive users who followed cessation of contraceptives, and those who didn’t use them at all. The pregnancy rates were almost same for both groups.
- Hormonal contraceptives cause abortion
Fact: this myth is baseless. This is because all birth controls cast their effects differently, by halting ovulation. Means there will be no egg to be fertilized, and pregnancy cannot occur. Whereas, abortion is the ending of pregnancy that has already begun.
- The morning-after pill is just like an abortion
Fact: this is one of the most common myths about contraceptives. Emergency contraception is entirely different from an abortion, as it only prevents pregnancy by blocking ovulation, thickening of cervical mucus (restricting the sperms reach an egg), and thinning down of uterine lining. Whereas, an abortion pill terminates already established pregnancy by shedding the endometrial wall of uterus and harming the fertilized egg.
- Hormonal contraceptives cause blood clots and stroke
Fact: this myth can e true for some people. Contraceptives do carry some risks, but not for everyone. Women who are over 35 of age and smoke are advised to take progestogen only pill, because there would be a risk of strokes and blood clots.
Women who are obese and have history of cardiovascular diseases must consult their doctor for safe birth control options. For such women minipills and non-hormonal options would be more suitable.
- Natural methods are enough for birth control
Fact: the people with conservative mindset, assumes that there is no need of getting any pills, injections or physical devices into their bodies. Natural methods like breastfeeding, fertility awareness method and withdrawal methods are good to implement as they don’t alter natural levels of hormones of their bodies.
However, these natural methods are least effective and can potentially increase the odds of pregnancy.
- Contraceptives will change your mood and sex drive
Fact: the myth is true for some women. This is because the oestrogen present in contraceptives lowers the levels of testosterone in your body. This may lead to vaginal dryness and decreased sexual pleasure.
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