With everything going on in my life, I haven’t been blogging much lately. Luckily I have a guest post to share with y’all today on a topic near and dear to my heart: hormonal contraception.
When I was 24, my menstrual cramps became intolerable. I spent an entire day bedridden from pain during each menstrual cycle. After a few months, I started taking birth control. My cramps greatly lessened. This medication improved my quality of life. I’m so glad Morgan Statt also cares about access to birth control!
Morgan works as the Health & Safety Advocate for Consumer Safety and spends her time writing on a variety of health topics. She has a background in strategic communication and a passion for social platforms. When she isn’t conducting investigative research, you can find her planning her next travel adventure or looking for the latest wellness trend to try.
Note: for the sake of clarity, this guest blog post refers to cisgender women as women. However, these medical uses of birth control may also apply to transgender men, genderqueer individuals, and other people. Neither Morgan nor I are doctors. Speak to a doctor if you have any questions about your health and the best medications for you.
5 Health Benefits of Contraception
In both high school and college, I could ask quite a few of my friends if they were on some form of birth control, and they would nod their heads. I remember the occasional cell phone alarm going off during a lecture, signaling that it was time for a classmate to take her birth control pill. I even briefly went on it to regulate my period, since a more intense workout routine was messing with my cycle.
This medication has been and continues to be widely used in my social circles. This knowledge makes the continued fight for women’s reproductive rights that much more imperative for me.
That said, when anyone makes a case for contraception coverage, the first and most popular reason given is simply that hormonal contraception is a means of preventing pregnancy.
Yes, it can serve as a preventative measure, but birth control can also be used as a form of medication for a number of health issues. While Congress didn’t pass the recent healthcare bill, Republicans still want to repeal the PPACA. With access to affordable healthcare at risk for hundreds of thousands of women, it’s again time to highlight just how vital contraception is for women’s health.
Birth control can halt menstrual cramps
Have you ever experienced cramps, back pain, or other discomfort during your period? You’re not alone. About 80% of post-pubescent women deal with these symptoms, known as dysmenorrhea, each cycle. Period cramps can even be severe enough to cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Certain contraceptives, however, can swoop in and ease–or even eliminate–this pain. Cramps occur during the menstrual flow because the uterus contracts to shed its lining. The Pill and IUDs like Mirena work by decreasing or completely blocking this menstrual flow, making those heavy cycle days much more manageable.
Contraception can prevent period-inducing seizures
Although seizures only affect 1% of the U.S. population, women can experience a unique subset known as catamenial epilepsy. These specific seizures occur with the hormonal fluctuations brought on by the menstrual cycle. Birth control is sometimes prescribed to balance out the estrogen and progestin during a woman’s period.
Birth control can clear up acne
Sometimes, topical creams and OTC medications fail to provide a solution for acne breakouts. If you’re looking for another option to try, ask your doctor about birth control. Hormonal contraceptives like the Pill deliver estrogen and progesterone. In the right formula, they can actually suppress androgens, the male hormones linked to acne. Birth control may stop those annoying zits once and for all.
Contraception can reduce the symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS occurs when a woman’s sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) are imbalanced. This disparity can cause symptoms including ovarian cysts, acne, and infertility. It can also contribute to irregular periods that cause the uterine lining to not shed properly each month.
Birth control can greatly help those suffering with PCOS by regulating these periods and preventing the lining from building up. Not only can this lower the risk of additional complications like endometrial hyperplasia, but it can also treat the painful symptoms that wreak havoc on everyday life.
Birth control can treat Endometriosis
Endometriosis is another painful disorder that causes the tissue lining of the uterus to grow outside of the uterus. Similar to PCOS, symptoms of Endometriosis include ovarian cysts, fertility issues, and severe forms of dysmenorrhea. Women with Endometriosis also report extremely severe menstrual pain caused by the buildup of the uterine tissue lining that occurs each month during the menstrual cycle. This pain can worsen over time. Hormonal birth control can be prescribed to reduce or eliminate this pain.
The risks of hormonal contraception
I wouldn’t be doing you any favors if I didn’t disclose that there are certain risks and potential side effects associated with starting any medication. Be sure to discuss with your doctor the adverse effects hormonal birth control can have on your body.
A cautionary tale
I developed bilateral blood clots in my lungs from briefly taking the pill. I was put on the blood thinner Xarelto for 6 months to dissolve the clots… But now that same life-saving medication has brought about many lawsuits for its potentially deadly internal bleeding side effects.
Adverse reactions caused by any medication, including birth control, should not be taken lightly. Pay close attention to your body, but feel reassured by the fact that the most severe side effects are a very rare occurrence.
So, the next time an opportunity arises for you to share your opinion of the great contraception coverage debate, educate yourself! Remember that birth control does more than just help women take charge of their wombs. It helps us live safe and healthy lives.
Do you take any form of birth control? What has your experience been like?