Hormonal methods of birth control
In the United States, up to 45% of women aged 15-44 prefer hormonal methods of birth control. Still, there are quite many hormonal contraception myths to debunk. So, how do these medicines work? Could they be dangerous? How to choose the right hormonal birth control, and to use it in the most effective way?
What is hormonal birth control?
A distinctive feature of the modern world is a large-scale movement against all the stereotypes. And an essential part of this process is reproductive freedom for women. This means that every woman has the right to have a sexual life she wants, and to make decisions on conceiving or interrupting an unwanted pregnancy. And here comes hormonal contraception.
Hormonal birth control methods help prevent unwanted pregnancies, and their effectiveness is extremely high. Still, to avoid sexually transmitted infections you should use condoms, too.
In general, all hormonal contraceptives have the same principle. First of all, they suppress ovulation. Also, such medications affect the mobility of sperm in the female reproductive organs, thus preventing fertilization.
You can take hormonal birth control pills from 16-18 years and until the onset of menopause. If you have no complaints or contraindications, and you visit your doctor regularly, you should take a break only to become pregnant, during pregnancy and lactation.
What are the main types of birth control pills?
Oral contraceptives differ in the way women use them, the composition and the dosage of hormones. So-called minipills contain only synthetic progestin, while combined oral contraceptives contain both synthetic estrogen and one of the types of synthetic progestin.
Seems like there is just one problem with oral birth control. You have to take your pills every day exactly at the same time.
Among other hormonal contraceptives are mechanical ones and injections.
Could hormonal contraceptives be therapeutic?
In fact, hormonal contraceptives help to stabilize the hormonal background of the female body. So, they really might help with premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, irregular periods, abnormal bleeding, and excess male hormones. Some tablets cope with acne and even with hair loss. For example, you might choose Yasmin pills.
Hormonal drugs primarily simulate a monthly cycle. So, usually there is a monthly withdrawal bleeding, when you might take a break between the cycles of taking birth control pills for several days. Still, many pills allow to have no bleeding at all.
Who should not use hormonal birth control?
According to WHO, pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as smoking women older than 35 years of age shouldn’t take most combined oral contraceptives. Other contraindications include hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer. Minipills have less contraindications, which include hepatitis, tumors or cirrhosis of the liver.
Mind that certain other drugs might affect the usage of birth control negatively. Check the whole list before you start taking your pills.
Are hormonal contraceptives dangerous?
Hormones have an effect not only on the reproductive system, but also on the entire body. Therefore, mind possible side effects. However, forget about all the horror stories on weight gain or excess hair grow because of taking preventive medicines.
Real side effects of hormonal contraception include excessive blood clotting, or coagulation (especially in older women who smoke), and certain problems with blood pressure and heart and brain blood vessels (it concerns mostly those who drink alcohol or take drugs). In some cases (for example, for women with human papillomavirus), there is a risk of cervical cancer. So, better pass health checks regularly to make sure the pills you take are good for you.
No data proves that birth control pills cut egg numbers. The so-called ovarian sleep is reversible.
Modern hormonal contraceptives still have contraindications and side effects. But, with proper usage and a healthy lifestyle, they can significantly improve the quality of your life.