As the world population is gaining weight by leaps and bounds, expected to multiply in the coming decades, the economy and our very essential resources are facing the brunt of uncontrolled growth of population. Governments and policy makers are devising new methods, laying importance of family planning and birth control measures to emphasize the importance of a small family. As rightly said, ‘a small family is a healthy and happy family,’ it is interesting to forage the kind of methods used to control unwanted pregnancy and to how far these are successful in family planning. Birth control methods can be deceptive and cause multiple health risks. So, before trusting on a method at a peak’s scale, you must learn its effectiveness and adhere to possible side-effects.
In the article below, we shall take a deeper look at some common side-effects associated with birth control and some methods to control unwanted pregnancy.
What is Birth Control and Why is it Useful?
Birth control, involving the use of contraception or commonly known as fertility control, is a method used to control pregnancy on time. Although, people have been using several methods of birth control since ancient times, but availability of modern techniques and safer methods evolved only in the 20th century. Birth control is used to initiate family planning in societies by analysing the ability of individuals to attain the desired number of children as per family goals and maintaining the space between two subsequent births.
Younger groups and teenagers are susceptible to poor results of unwanted pregnancies. Lack of knowledge and comprehensive education to prevent unwanted pregnancies and birth control measures make pull them to a deeper gorge of financial, psychological, physical and cultural instability. A teenage body is not adequately equipped to handle morphological and physiological changes arising out of pregnancy and to further preserve their identity and culture, the youngsters take decisions in haste, worsening the situation.
Some methods of birth control can be followed immediately after the child’s delivery, while others may require considerable time for up to six months. It is advisable for breastfeeding women to try progestin-only methods, normally preferred over a combination of birth control pills. Recent data suggest the use of contraceptives in developing countries to decrease the number of maternal deaths by about 40 percent. The methods help to achieve the desired goal of unwanted pregnancies further leading to unsafe abortions and eliminating chances of pregnancies in those at a considerable higher risk.
Apart from preventing pregnancies, birth control methods have their own circle of benefits by playing wonderfully with your hormones. Some of them include:
1# Regulation of Menstrual Cycles
Use of hormonal birth control methods will likely balance the hormonal changes that occur throughout your cycle. The process can help women with a lot of menstrual issues including irregular or heavy bleeding. Some methods can help with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) symptoms, along with hormonal acne and excess hair on body.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affecting women during childbearing years (between 15 to 44) is a condition that affects the levels of hormones produced in women. Women having the syndrome produce higher than the normal or usual amounts of male hormones. The hormonal imbalance leads to fluctuations in menstrual cycle and restricted periods apart from creating restrictions in pregnancy. The disease also triggers hair growth on face and body and baldness in few. Further long-term risks include diabetes and heart disease. Use of some birth control methods can regularize menstruation and balance the timings.
2# Lessens Pain in Menstruation
Most women (31 percent) cite menstrual pain and cramps as primary reasons to take birth control pills. Hormonal birth control limits the process of ovulation in females. Ovulation is a part of menstrual cycle which occurs when an egg is released from the ovary, typically taking place around day 14 of a 28-day menstrual cycle. When you don’t ovulate, your uterus doesn’t experience the harsher fluctuations and contractions that lead to cramps in ovulation. So, painful cramps can be reduced by hormonal birth control which can provide relief for pain in menstruation.
3# Minimizing Acne
Acne marks are often triggered by hormonal fluctuations. Ace develops more severely during Adolescence. Hormonal birth control methods can help to reduce chances of hormonal acne by limiting the fluctuations. Birth control pills consisting of hormones both estrogen and progesterone in the form of combination pills are hailed the most powerful acne fighters.
4# Reducing Risk of Ovarian Cysts
Ovarian cysts are small, fluid-filled sac like structures developing in ovaries during ovulation. The cysts are not completely dangerous but can be painful sometimes. Women with PCOS often bear a large number of small cysts in ovaries and by preventing the ovulation from forming, hormonal birth control can prevent the formation of cysts. The process may also stop former cysts from regrowing or developing further.
5# Managing Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a disorder in which a tissue similar to the tissue that forms on the lining of the uterus develops outside of the uterine cavity. The lining of the uterus is known as endometrium. Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue grows rapidly on ovaries, bowel, and tissues that generally line the pelvis. The tissue bleeds during menstruation, despite the location and when the tissue bleeds in locations where blood cannot easily escape from the body, the process causes pain and inflammation. Hormonal birth control methods are useful in the sense they avoid menstrual flows. So, birth control pills and IUDs are helpful to manage endometriosis.
Methods of Birth Control
One can use a variety of methods for birth control, ranging from oral contraceptives to birth control barriers. Some of them commonly used are as follows:
1# Hormonal Birth Control
The method involves birth control pills, stick-on patches, insertable vaginal rings, shots and use of vaginal implants. Hormonal birth control methods use hormones to stop the release of egg so it can’t be fertilized by the sperm.
The efficiency of methods depends on how well they can be used. Typical usages can be 90% effective. It is advisable to take a doctor’s advice before the pill begins to show effect and for required dosages, etc.
2# Barrier Birth Control
Barrier birth control methods create a barrier to keep sperms away from the point of contact of an egg and can be availed at a local pharmaceutical store. Barrier birth control devices or condoms are available for both men and women and can help prevent pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). They create a suitable barrier that keeps semen and other body fluids away from vagina or rectum. Male condoms are about 98% effective at preventing pregnancy, when used properly.
The contraceptives also lower the chances of contracting an STD. The type of risk varies by the type of the disease. For instance, condoms are almost 100% effective at providing protection against an HIV. But, HPV is likely to affect other areas too. A female contraceptive partially creates a barrier entering into the vaginal tube. A separate form of non-prescription option is the sponge. The sponge is a small piece of foam, put with spermicide, that is placed in the upper portion of vagina and are 68 to 84 percent effective. Spermicides in the form of gels, creams and foams, accompanied with other birth control methods are as much effective.
3# Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)
Intrauterine devices or IUDs are small, plastic devices inserted into vagina by a medical professional. The procedure is simple and less lengthy, although a bit uncomfortable. The devices, once placed in position can protect you from pregnancy for a longer duration of time. IUDs that involve the use of hormones are suitable for 3-5 years depending on the type. The copper-T version, using copper, a natural sperm killer can be effective for up to 10 years.
4# Vaginal Contraception
Vaginal contraception is placed into vagina to prevent sperms for reaching an egg for fertilization, thereby, preventing pregnancy. The contraceptives can be suitable in various forms, such as a foam, tablet, cream, in the form of suppositories to deliver medication, or a dissolvable film.
Spermicides make use of chemicals to kill the sperm. The drugs can be purchased at the counter and deliver effective results. They work better with traditional barriers.
Side-Effects of Birth Control
Many people use hormonal contraceptives as an effective way to prevent pregnancy. But, being a form of medication, a lot of women prefer them for oral contraceptives to control birth. Potential advancements in medical sciences have led researchers t o develop a host of newer methods and techniques of birth control, so women can effectively use the best women to fit them the most. So, it is common to witness some side-effects when starting the process.
Two vital hormones estrogen and progesterone regulate and maintain female fertility along with the menstrual cycle. The entry of exogenous hormones into the bloodstream disrupts the process of natural hormone synthesis, while modifying other body parts, including breasts and adipose tissue. The effects can be realized elsewhere, such as:
Spotting, or bleeding normally occurs as a side-effect in which moderate or unexpected light bleeding is witnessed between two period cycles. Studies indicate the secondary reaction to be caused by non-compliance of pills and most likely to take place shortly after consuming the pill. The bleeding normally stops after the body gets used to hormonal changes.
2# Dizziness, Nausea and Vomiting Symptoms
Symptoms of nausea, dizziness, and women are reported by most women depending on contraceptives. Oral contraceptives can trigger vomiting and create tensions for birth control. Thus, proper precautions need to be followed before swallowing another pill. It is usually common to take another pill within 12 hours of vomiting after taking your pill.
3# Sensitivity to Breasts
Hormones present in contraceptives are likely to affect breast tissue and leading to swollen, or sensitive breasts. Moreover, certain amount of pain can be witnessed in the muscles surrounding breast tissue, as they get overly sensitive due to action of hormones in bloodstream.
4# Migraine Problems
Headaches are one of the most common problems of birth control. Women suffering from regular migraines and headaches are suggested to avoid the use of hormonal contraceptives. The symptoms are likely linked to fluctuating estrogen levels altering the presence of certain chemicals. Therefore, women depend on medication for headaches during some phases of the regular menstrual cycle, or avoid the use of hormonal contraceptives altogether.
5# Gaining Weight
Gaining weight due to hormonal birth control is a topic of debate. While it is not certain whether there is an increase in body mass index, it is likely that retention of liquids is causing you to put on additional pressure on your body. At the beginning of hormonal contraceptive practice, the body is likely to retain liquids, as an adverse effect of hormonal contraceptives. Over time, the process is normalized as the internal electrolyte balance stabilizes and controls.
6# Mood Swings
It is common for women to face emotional tensions and mood swings while administering oral contraceptives. Women might feel emotional instability and could be susceptible to depression and other mood related disorders. Researchers are trying to establish the link between birth control and depression and can likely result in minimal effects. No just women, but mood swing in men is common too.
Tips for Using Birth Control
It is essential to follow appropriate tips and remedies at the start of your birth control regimen which include:
- Be alert and prepared for usage.
- Check for expiration dates as external barriers like condoms and latex or plastic types of birth control can wear off and break down with time.
- One needs to store the contraceptives accurately, as light and heat can damage condoms and other forms of birth control which can produce adverse effects due to structural changes.
- Follow the directions as mentioned on the drug or wrapper before use.
- It is vital to follow safe precautions while using birth control barriers, as they make cause injury to the organ, leading to bleeding and/or discomfort.
Birth control measures are effective to control population and prevent unwanted pregnancy. In a haste to make timely decisions, one must not torment the health. Contraceptives can have possible side-effects and depending on the immune system, can trigger various responses.
Read more articles on Women’s Health