7 Surprising Benefits Of Birth Control Pills
Written by: Yeu-Gynn Yeung
Due to many myths, misconceptions and prejudices, less than half of fertile Malaysian women use effective contraception. Nevertheless, birth control pills (or “The Pill”) remain the most popular and easily accessible method of contraception. When prescribed correctly, the pill is safe and 99% effective most of the time. You can get it at any pharmacy. Besides preventing unwanted pregnancies, birth control pills have other benefits that may astonish you.
Newsflash – married women take birth control pills too – and not just for family planning reasons. Perhaps you’ll take a trip to the pharmacy after reading this, first to practice safe sex, and second to enjoy the other advantages of the pill.
1) Regulates your period
If you’re a babe who suffers from irregular periods, birth control pills can regulate it. Like, sometimes we never know when Auntie Flo is gonna visit. Will she be late or early this month? Fortunately, birth control pills takes care of that. Most pills comes in 28-day packs, where the last four packs are placebo pills that do not contain hormones. Birth control pills allow the endometrial lining to be shed evenly every four weeks, hence regulating your period. Plus, if you usually get heavy periods, birth control pills will lighten the flow – sometimes only up to four days of bleeding. For women with anaemia, the pill can prevent unnecessary blood loss.
2) Relieves menstrual cramps
We shouldn’t be punished for not getting pregnant, yet here we are, doubled over with excruciating period cramps. Thankfully, birth control pills can relieve the monthly menstrual pain. This is because hormonal birth control prevents ovulation. When you don’t ovulate, your uterus doesn’t contract, which causes the cramps we normally experience. These cramps can be debilitating, and most women would rather be rid of them than live through such pain.
3) Reduces hormonal acne
Don’t pop that zit! Your stubborn acne may actually be an underlying hormonal issue. The pill reduces hormonal acne, and sometimes banishes it altogether so you can have clear, glowing skin. Birth control pills regulate hormonal fluctuations, like the levels of estrogen and testosterone in our bodies. Plus, it decreases the circulation of androgens, a hormone that is responsible for producing sebum. Of course, it’ll take a few months for your acne to completely clear up, but better now than never, right?
4) Lowers the risk of ovarian cysts
Ovarian cysts are small fluid sacs that form in our ovaries during ovulation. Don’t worry – it’s so small, that many of us won’t even notice they’ve formed. Most of the time, these small cysts disappear on their own. It becomes an issue when the cyst grows bigger than the ovary which it’s attached to, which can cause painful periods, pain during sex and abdominal bloating. Basically, birth control pills prevent you from ovulating, which decreases the overall risk of ovarian cysts. If you suffer from complications due to ovarian cysts, your doctor may prescribe the pill to you.
5) Relieves PMS symptoms
Many women experience PMS about a week before our period is actually due. Not cool. Symptoms like breast tenderness, bloating and mood swings tend to come a week before Auntie Flo visits due to irregular hormone levels. Since birth control pills regulate our hormones, it can relieve PMS as well. Balancing our hormone levels with the pill can also reduce period-related headaches and migraines.
6) Lowers the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer
The pill lowers your risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer by up to 40% compared to women who have never been on the pill. The longer you’re on the pill, the lower your risk. The lowest risk level lasts up to 30 years even after you’ve stopped taking the pill. So, for all these years that you don’t want to be pregnant, choose a contraceptive option that can help you move towards a healthier future.
7) Allows you to skip your period
The pill allows you to bleed on your own terms. When you’re on the hormonal pills, you won’t ovulate anyway. You’d usually get your period when taking the placebo pills. If having your period is inconvenient to you on a particular month (like, something big has come up that week!) you can skip the placebo pills and start on the next pack straightaway. There are no health risks associated with skipping your period a few times a year. However, you should always check with your doctor if you experience any form of bleeding.
Ladies – take note. Contraceptives aren’t always about sex. Sometimes, it’s about treating hormonal acne, reducing period cramps, or having the freedom to choose whether you want to bleed or not this month. The pill may work differently for every woman as we have different hormone levels. Be sure to check with your doctor about the birth control method that works best for you.