The idea of birth control pills is in the name. The biggest benefit is to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. However, that’s not the only reason contraceptive pills are taken by millions of women around the world.
While there are many people against the use of birth control pills because of the contraceptive element, people forget all about the other major benefits. They are one of the most beneficial types of contraception for women, due to the way they help to prevent pregnancies. Here’s a look at all the other ways women benefit from the use of taking the pills.
How Do Birth Control Pills Work?
Before looking at all the benefits, it’s worth looking at the way the pills actually work. They control the hormones within the body, making it possible to prevent the release of an egg from the ovaries. This prevents pregnancies, but it’s worth remembering that the hormones can lead to other health problems and events happening in the body.
It’s the way the pills affect the hormones that offer more benefits to the body. It’s this hormonal benefit that gives women far more reasons to start taking birth control pills.
It’s Possible to Regulate the Monthly Cycle
While the majority of women will have a 30-day cycle, not every woman is regular. For many women, they don’t know if they are going to bleed on Day 28, Day 30, or even Day 40. Their menstrual cycles are erratic and difficult to predict. This can lead to some very embarrassing moments, as well as frustration and stress.
With contraceptive pills, women know exactly when they are going to bleed. They can have full control over when their next period will be, whether they want to prevent one completely for a month because of a vacation or they just want to be able to plan a little better.
Women will take a pill every day for the whole month. The first three weeks of pills are active contraceptive. The last week is full of dummy pills. They do nothing for the body but will help to keep up the habit of taking a pill every day. These dummy pills can be skipped and some brands won’t have them at all.
During that week off the active pills, the body will be able to release the blood that has built up. This is actually referred to as a withdrawal bleed, as it’s not actually a period due to the lack of egg being released.
Most women are prescribed with three months worth of pills at a time. They are then encouraged by their doctor to take a break for a week and then given another prescription. It’s possible to take the active pills back to back for the three months and only have one period every quarter. You have much more control over what your body does.
You Can Improve Your Blood Flow
If you have heavy and painful periods, you can control this with the use of birth control pills. Due to the way the hormones are affected, not as much blood is collected and released during the time off. So, you’re not just controlling when you bleed but you have a little more control over the amount that you bleed.
This is especially important for women with menorrhagia. This is when the menstrual bleeding is extremely heavy and affects around 10% of women. When untreated, the blood loss can be so severe that health problems like anemia can occur.
The pills help to thin the uterus lining. This helps to prevent as much blood from being lost from the body.
Likewise, the pill can help to improve the discomfort during your menstrual cycle. Since you don’t release the egg monthly, you can reduce the feeling of pain and bloat each month. There may still be some, but it is not as severe as when you don’t use hormonal controls.
The pill is extremely beneficial for those who suffer from dysmenorrhea, where one of the symptoms is a bad pain. Around 90% of women are affected by pains, but they can be so severe that women are unable to walk and live their normal life.
It’s Possible to Prevent Menstrual Migraines
Did you know 60% of women suffer migraines because of their periods? There are so many symptoms and side effects of this very normal part of life, but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with them. Estrogen is to blame for the migraines. Since the estrogen levels increase at points in the menstrual cycle, the migraines are linked to this part of a woman’s life.
Taking birth control pills have shown benefits against menstrual migraines. It’s possible to prevent the increase in estrogen, meaning the side effects are reduced considerably.
You can also prevent other hormonal changes in the body. It’s possible to reduce mood swings and other downsides of PMS. Doctors can prescribe contraceptive pills purely for helping with PMS rather than preventing pregnancy.
Reduce the Signs of Endometriosis
If you have tissue growing outside of the uterus, you may be diagnosed with a condition called endometriosis. It’s a painful condition that leads to heavy periods and other hormonal fluctuations. Doctors will want to treat the condition to help get rid of the pesky side effects.
The great news is that birth control pills can help. Remember that the pills stop the hormonal changes. This leads to the thinning of the lining of the uterus, reducing the growths on the outside.
Many doctors will prescribe extended pill use for this condition. This often means that you’re taking back to back pill packets, rather than having a break once a month.
It’s not necessarily going to stop your endometriosis. The benefit of the pill is to make your symptoms more bearable on a monthly basis. You can feel like you get to live a normal life.
It’s also possible to prevent the symptoms linked to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). This is linked to a hormonal imbalance and can lead to acne, excess hair on the body, irregular periods, and ovarian cysts. Many women suffering from PCOS find it hard to have children, due to the hormonal fluctuations and other issues.
The pill helps to lower levels of testosterone within the body. This helps to control menstruation and can help to later improve the chances of getting pregnant, as doctors get the hormonal levels right before taking you off the pills.
Offer Some Protection Against Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
While doctors will tell you that the pill can’t protect against sexually transmitted infections, there is one that doesn’t quite fit that statement. The pelvic inflammatory disease is a disease transmitted sexually that causes problems for the reproductive organs. When untreated, women can suffer from severe pain and infertility. Most women won’t even realize they have it until they start to experience the pain.
The pill help sot thickens the mucus within the cervix. So while the sexually transmitted diseases that cause pelvic inflammatory disease aren’t prevented, the development of the disease can be. It’s harder for the bacteria to get into the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and more. This means the bacteria can’t grow and develop, causing the severe health issue.
Your Skin Can Look Better
Do you struggle with bad skin? It may be greasy or full of acne. Skin issues aren’t linked to the food you eat, but the hormone fluctuations in the body. Did you know birth control pills can help to manage your skin complaints?
When the body has a higher level of testosterone in the body, acne and hair growth are common. Testosterone is normal, even in women, but you want to keep the levels to a minimum. The contraceptive pill helps to slow down the development of the testosterone to prevent the amount of acne you suffer from.
You will need to talk to your doctor if you take medication that increases the testosterone levels in the body. This is especially important if you have to take steroids for any reason.
While birth control pills can be one of the more expensive monthly purchases, there is the benefit of reducing ongoing costs for skin and hair treatments. You can reduce the amount of waxing and shaving and even reduce the amount of makeup you buy. Your skin looks brighter and clearer, meaning you’ll be more comfortable going out without makeup on!
Reduce the Risk of Some Cancers
There are people who claim birth controls are bad for you because they cause cancer. While there are some studies that show some women can develop breast cancer due to pill use, there are also studies that show the contraceptive pill is extremely beneficial for protecting against cancers. This is especially the case for those who worry about developing ovarian cancer.
Studies show that taking the pill for five or more years reduces the risk of ovarian cancer by as much as 50%! Every five years of using the pill reduce the risks by almost a quarter and the benefits can continue for more than 30 years afterward.
This is extremely important, as there is currently no screening process for ovarian cancer, except through the use of smear tests. Even then, the tests will usually only spot ovarian cancer when you are in the later stages of it.
Help Through Perimenopause
The contraceptive pill isn’t just great for those who are going through their usual menstrual cycle. Wom
en going through menopause can also gain benefits. The pill helps with the side effects of perimenopause, by helping to keep the hormonal levels balanced.
Some of the most uncomfortable side effects of menopause are all linked to the hormones. Women deal with irregular periods and hot flashes. The pill helps to keep the estrogen levels balanced, reducing the increase of other hormones. You have more control over the periods, just like you would if you had regular ones that were just heavy!
You do also have the pregnancy prevention benefits. Many women don’t realize that they can get pregnant during menopause. While we’re not touching on the pregnancy-prevention benefits overall, it’s worth reminding while discussing the menopause benefits.
Protect Against the Flu
There are also studies that surprisingly show the pill can help to protect you against contracting the flu virus during the usual flu season. This is linked to the estrogen levels. The female hormone helps to reduce the amount of the flu virus that can replicate in the body. The cells are protected from damage and your immune system doesn’t have to do as much work.
However, increasing the estrogen levels doesn’t work in men! The estrogen levels in men are already too low, so increasing a little doesn’t offer the same protection.
This doesn’t mean you should just take the pill for flu protection. It just means you get the extra benefit if you’re taking the pill for other reasons.
Not Everyone Can Take the Pill
It’s worth noting that the pill isn’t good for everyone. There are other forms of contraception that can offer some of the same benefits mentioned above, such as the injection and coil. Some studies have shown dangers in taking the contraceptive pill, especially in women with a family history of high blood pressure and breast cancer.
Your doctor will want to keep an eye on your vitals. This is why you’re only usually given three months of the pill at a time. Your doctor will want to look out for warning signs of health problems as soon as possible.
There are different types of contraceptive pills available. If you can’t take the estrogen pills, your doctor may recommend progesterone pills instead. Talk to your doctor about all your options and the overall benefits of taking individual types.
The contraceptive pill isn’t just good for protecting against pregnancy, although it is the main reason it’s prescribed. You can gain other health benefits, including protection against some cancers, the flu, and some female health problems.