10 Common Birth Control Myths, Debunked
In this article, we’ll discuss some common birth control myths that we found on the internet.
For a woman, her reproductive health and well-being are very important. As a female, you will definitely want to have control over your ability to conceive.
However, there are misinformation and myths surrounding contraception options. This may discourage you from using effective and safe ways to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
Thus, it is time to debunk the myths surrounding and create awareness about different birth control methods.
Birth Control Myths
1. Myth: Birth Control Works Every Time
When looking for contraceptives, you will find several options. Some are effective more than 99%. But, none of the birth control methods is 100% successful. Pills can be 91% to 99% effective.
Intrauterine devices like copper IUDs are non-surgical types of contraception that are the most effective. It is a long-term form of contraception.
Male condoms are effective 85% to 88% that too if used properly every time. If you miss a dose of hormonal birth control, it is best to use a backup method like a condom for added protection.
2. Myth: All Birth Control Methods Are Appropriate for All Females
Birth control methods are indeed beneficial to women. But, not every female can use all types of contraceptives available. Depending on the lifestyle, preference, and health condition of a person, the doctor will prescribe a type of birth control. This is more important if you suffer from certain health conditions.
For instance, women sensitive to the hormonal forms of birth control should switch to non-hormonal forms of contraceptives.
On the other hand, females with risks to heart disease, liver disease, gall bladder disease, family history of blood clots, age 35 years, and a smoker, should not take birth control pills.
Some people are uncomfortable using the skin patches, or getting shots and implants, or getting an IUD or cervical cap. For such women, oral contraceptives are one of the best alternatives.
3. Myth: Birth Control Methods Can Protect against STIs
Apart from the barrier method such as condoms, no other form of contraceptive can protect against the spread of sexually transmitted infections or diseases. A condom stops sperm from getting in touch with an egg. The sheath-like substance does not allow sperm to enter the uterus or get in direct contact with the vagina. This makes it eligible to protect against STDs as well. However, other contraceptives such as IUDs, pills, implants, etc, do not give this benefit. But all types of birth controls prevent pregnancies.
4. Myth: Hormonal Birth Control Causes Weight Gain
Evidence shows that IUDs and pills do not make you put on weight. The estrogen in medicine can increase your appetite. So, if you are on a high dose combination pill, you may want to speak to your doctor about another type of contraception.
Progestin-only pills may cause a slight increase in weight. In some cases, there could be water retention in the body after the initial use of contraception. But this effect is temporary.
You will get back to normalcy as your body adjusts to the new hormone levels. It may take 2 to 3 months for your body to adjust to the new hormone level.
Weight gain if any, will not be piling up of fats. If you notice any change in weight, you should get a physical examination done to find the underlying cause.
Also Read: Best Non Hormonal Birth Control Options
5. Myth: Long-Term Use of Birth Control Will Make You Infertile
Fertility varies from one female to another. It is true that long-term use of birth control methods has no negative effect on your future fertility. So, the contraception type, be it any, will not affect your ability to have a child in the future. Most of the contraceptives are reversible.
However, we cannot say so for sterilization. But, if you have been diagnosed with STIs, then you should get its treatment. STIs may affect your ability to get pregnant later.
6. Myth: If You Are Breastfeeding, You Cannot Get Pregnant
The LAM method (Lactational amenorrhea method) is a method to prevent pregnancy after breastfeeding.
In LAM, birth control is practiced for the first 6 months after the birth of the child, if all the conditions are followed strictly. This condition states that the child must be breastfed on demand.
There should be no formula supplementation or pumping. In this method, one can stay protected from pregnancy. But the efficacy rate is only 75%. This is why it is important to use a more successful and prescribed form of birth control to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.
7. Myth: The Implant You Get Will Be Visible to Everyone
Implants are low on maintenance. Nobody has to know that you have a birth control implant. The hormonal implant releases small doses of the hormone in your body to protect against pregnancy.
Usually, the implant is inserted under the skin of your arm. If you press the spot on the arm, then you will be able to feel it. If anyone observes you pressing the arm, they will be able to see that. So, if you do not draw attention to the implant, there is no way anyone can know about it.
Also, using birth control is no more a taboo. And even if someone gets to know about it, there is no shame in it.
8. Myth: Birth Control Increases the Risk to Cancer
Combination pills containing estrogen and progestin do not increase the risk of cancer. Rather, the pill reduces the risks of endometrial, cervical, and ovarian cancer by regulating periods. There is some evidence where long-term use of use pills may raise the risk of cervical and breast cancer.
But this is rare and does not have an overbearing impact in contrast to risk reduction to other forms of cancers. However, if you have a family history of cancers, then it is best to get a physical examination done before using a hormonal birth control option.
9. Myth: If You Did Not Get Pregnant After an Unprotected Intercourse, You Do Not Need Birth Control
Having unprotected intercourse does not mean you will always get pregnant. In a similar manner, it also does not mean that you will not get pregnant. Thus, depending on just your luck and avoiding birth control can definitely raise the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.
Getting pregnant depends on when you ovulate. But this does not mean you can do without a contraceptive if you want to avoid an unplanned pregnancy. Also, it is not wise to depend on the withdrawal method (the man pulls out his penile organ before ejaculation) too.
10. Myth: You Need to Take or Use Birth Control Everyday
If you are on birth control pills, yes, you need to take one pill every day until the placebo period. Otherwise, not all contraception methods have to be used every day.
For instance, a condom has to be used only during intercourse. Skin patch and Vaginal ring need to be changed only once a week. Shots are effective for at least 3 months.
IUDs once inserted can last up to 3 years to 10 years. Thus, depending on your health and choice, you can use any of the contraceptives. If you do not want to use a pill every day, then you can choose a long-lasting contraceptive instead.
Birth Control Myths: Final Thoughts
Birth control methods help you to have great control over your reproductive health. There are two types of contraceptives – hormonal and nonhormonal. There are surgical options available too. You need to choose the one that you are comfortable with. It is best to consult with a doctor if you are looking for long-term contraception or take birth control pills. The doctor will do the necessary physical examination and suggest the right birth control method for you.
April 4, 2020 Sam Bell