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The Benefits of the Birth Control Pill

By HERWriter
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Sexual Health related image Photo: Getty Images

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, birth control pills are used by more than 11 million women all over the world. We know their primary purpose is to prevent pregnancy, but LiveStrong.com reported that they have many other health benefits as well. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly more common for birth control pills to be prescribed for uses other than contraception.

First, they help protect women against some cancers. The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Health Service (UWSP) said protection against uterine and ovarian cancer is probably one of the most important health benefits of oral contraceptives (OCs). Using the pill for one year or more considerably reduces the risk of developing endometrial cancer. The risk of developing ovarian cancer is reduced with only three to six months of use. Protection against these cancers increases with continued pill use and is thought to continue for at least 15 years after pill use is stopped.

Another benefit is less cramping. A LiveStrong.com article said birth control pills reduce the intensity of dysmenorrhea, or menstrual pain caused by uterine cramping. Up to 70 to 80 percent of women with dysmenorrhea get some relief from cramping through OC. The article went on to say the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals reported hormones in birth control pills also decrease other premenstrual syndrome symptoms, including breast tenderness, bloating and weight gain. In fact, it has been prescribed for this purpose for more than 40 years.

Oral contraception also helps women have more regular and lighter menstrual periods.

UWSP said the pill is useful in treating endometriosis. Plus, the risk of developing ovarian cysts is greatly reduced because the pill helps prevent ovulation.

UWSP also said many pill users have less excess hair because androgens and testosterone are suppressed by oral contraceptives. High androgen levels can cause darkening of facial and body hair, especially on the chin, chest and abdomen.

YoungWomensHealth.org said another benefit is clearer skin. The hormones in most types of oral contraception can help prevent acne.

Add a Comment5 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Every health "benefit" listed in this article are also listed as "side effects" of every OCP Pill packet out there. Acne, Increased weight, bodily hair growth, breast tenderness, and yes even the cancers listed are listed by perscribers as risks associated with OCPs. The only one listed in the article that is consistent with the pill packet information is the decreased risk of endometrial cancer. That is because the pill significantly thins the endometrium so there is no place on which cancer could grow.

July 7, 2011 - 8:30pm
EmpowHER Guest

the main benefit of birth control is having less painful or no periods. [link removed by EmpowHer Moderator]

July 7, 2011 - 2:20am
EmpowHER Guest

Hi Anonymous,
Thank you for your input on the subject. I am not sure I understand the different "smell" that we pick up on in our mates but I guess even without birth control, we can pick poor partners as I am living proof. :-)

I do agree that the artifical hormones are a bit questionable. I chose many years ago to quit taking birth control also and was just careful by other means and luckily, I never had to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. "knock on wood"

Best wishes,

July 6, 2011 - 1:37pm
EmpowHER Guest

This will not convince me to take the pill. I was on it and I didn't like how I felt on it. I've also read that being on the pill can make you choose the wrong mate. You are attracted to men who have a different scent than you, but when you are on the pill you're body thinks you are pregnant so you are attracted to guys with a smell similar to your own. I don't know if I'm explaining it well, but if you google 'birth control makes you pick wrong partner' then a ton of articles will come up about this subject.

On another note, I don't trust the pill changing what my body already naturally does. Women's bodies have been menstruating and ovulating for thousands of years, so I will let my body do what its supposed to and not what some artificial hormones will make it do.

July 6, 2011 - 1:16pm
EmpowHER Guest

The greatly increased risk of breast cancer and circulatory problems doesn't, in fact, justify the slight decreases in ovarian cancer by virtue of the use of the birth control pill. The 2002 Women's Health Initiative showed huge increases in breast cancer associated with HRT, which contains the same hormones as the pill. Furthermore, some studies have, in fact, found increases in the rates of ovarian cancer connected with use of the pill. I'm completely unconvinced by your opinion.

July 5, 2011 - 2:10pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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