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7 Common Birth Control Myths Debunked

World Contraception Day takes place on September 26th every year. The annual worldwide campaign centers around a vision where every pregnancy is wanted. Launched in 2007, WCD’s mission is to improve awareness of contraception and to enable young people to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health. 

 

In conjunction with this day, we would like to walk through some common myths about birth control. Some of these myths are passed down by well-meaning family members and you might find others online. Knowing the facts gives you more control over your family planning decisions and health, and may save your fertility and your health.

 

Myth #1: Birth control prevents STIs

 

While barrier methods—such as condoms—can help to reduce the possibility of contracting an STI, they are not foolproof. For example, the herpes virus can exist on parts of the genitals that are not covered by a condom.

 

Other forms of birth control are completely ineffective for preventing STIs. Oral contraceptives, IUDs, and surgical sterilization do nothing to prevent you from catching an infection. If you use this form of birth control, then talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk of catching an STI.

 

Myth #2: You’ll gain weight on birth control

 

Birth control can have side effects, but this is one that you don’t have to worry about. Currently, no studies show that birth control causes significant weight gain. Anecdotal reports of women gaining weight may be linked to other lifestyle factors.

 

Myth #3: Older women can quit using birth control

 

The process of going through menopause can span several years. Although your odds of conceiving a baby go down after the age of 40, it may still be possible to get pregnant.

 

To avoid having a surprise pregnancy after you hit midlife, you’ll want to talk to your gynecologist about your fertility. In most cases, you’ll still need to use some form of birth control until you’ve stopped menstruating for at least 1 year.

 

Myth #4: Birth control pills will give you cancer

 

Cancer prevention is a huge part of women’s health. The idea that you can get cancer from oral contraceptives is one of those birth control myths that you can stop believing. Hormonal birth control can actually help to prevent certain types of cancer, such as endometrial and ovarian types.

 

You may also let your doctor perform cancer screenings during your visits for birth control to further reduce your risk.

 

Myth #5: Taking birth control ruins your natural fertility

 

With the exception of permanent sterilization methods, birth control will not harm your fertility. With most hormonal forms of birth control, you’ll simply stop using your preferred method and begin to work on trying to conceive. Your body quickly resumes its natural reproductive functions, and most people can conceive even if they’ve used birth control for years.

 

If you have trouble conceiving, then there may be another issue at play. Always work with your doctor to identify potential issues that could be impacting your fertility.

 

Myth #6: Some forms of birth control are better than others

 

If you put a group of people together in a room and ask which birth control method is best, you’ll likely get some passionate responses. The truth is that all birth control options have their pros and cons.

 

The important thing is to pick one that works best for your goals and that you can use regularly. For instance, some women prefer the ease of IUDs since they don’t have to think about taking a pill every day. Others like the birth control pill since they are already familiar with it.

 

Myth #7: The birth control pill works right away

 

If you start taking the birth control pill within 5 days of beginning your period, then you are likely covered. Starting the pill at any other point of your cycle means that you’ll need to wait at least a week before you can feel safe from experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. During this time, you can still engage in sexual activity. You’ll just need to use a backup form of birth control, such as a barrier method.

 

Even when you know the truth, figuring out which birth control method works best for you might still be a challenge. Make sure to talk to your gynecologist about your options. Knowledge is power and helps you feel confident with the choices that you make regarding your body. 

 

Source of information: https://www.allaboutwomenmd.com/

 

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