Contraceptives are one of the ways through which people can avoid pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections as well as HIV. Their use has been increasing through the years and thus more and more people use various forms of contraceptives, from condoms to pills, coils, intrauterine devices to natural methods, there seems to be an option that any person can use.
As with any form of new technology, myths are abound to come with the use of contraceptives. It is important to understand the myths and the truth so as to make an informed decision on the type of contraceptive to make use of. Below are the most common myths that revolve around the use of contraceptives.
One of the most common myths is that when one is on the birth control pill, they are bound to gain a lot of weight. There could be nothing further from the truth. In as much as every woman’s body will respond differently to birth control, weight gain does not result from use of the pill. The reason why women are seen to gain weight when on the pill is because they tend to adjust their lifestyle to a more comfortable one that does not involve much exercise. As such, one should strive to integrate exercise with good food so as to keep weight in check.
Another common myth is that one’s fertility is affected once they go off the hormonal contraceptive they were on. Since hormonal contraceptives tend to alter the way hormones that control pregnancy are produced, it might take a while to get back to normal hormonal production, but there is no permanent harm done. Hormonal contraceptives do not in any way cause infertility. As soon as you start ovulating normally after stopping the use of hormonal contraceptives, one is ready to enjoy the pregnancy week by week journey. Studies have shown that most women tend to stare ovulating in the first month after stopping the use of the said contraceptives, though it is not uncommon for some to go an average of 3 – 6 months before ovulation.
Another common myth is that women ought not to take birth control pills continuously, especially if they are avoiding the pregnancy week by week journey. This is however not true, though taking a break is recommended, especially in the women who tend to bleed too much. Stopping the birth control pills for a few days has been shown to help most women get back on track and contain bleeding. Other than that, women who are making use of cyclic birth control pills need not take a break, unless they are looking to start the pregnancy week by week journey. It is very important to remember that when one stops using pills and they continue to be intimate unprotected, the chances of getting preganct tend to be very real.
Another popular myth is that birth control pills tend to cause breast cancer as the pill causes various hormonal imbalances. This is one of the biggest worries of most women who take the pill. Recent studies, however, seem to show that this may not, after all, be a myth. According to a study by the American Cancer Society, women on birth control tend to be at a slightly higher risk of getting breast cancer as opposed to women who have never used birth control. This is a risk that is mainly seen in patients who are on the pill only.
Another common myth that is common with regards to contraception is that one cannot get pregnant when they engage in unprotected sex during their period. It is important to note that the egg can be produced at any time during the cycle and as such, one can even get pregnant during their period. It is also important to note that sperms can live in the vagina for up to six days if the conditions are conducive.
Last but not least is the myth that breastfeeding prevents pregnancy week by week. In as much as it is true that breastfeeding can help prevent ovulation for a few weeks to months, this is not a foul proof method of birth control. Continuous breastfeeding tends to induce lactational amenorrhea which is a period where a woman does not have periods for the first 4 – 6 months post pregnancy. This method is, however, effective in 95 – 98% of most women.
Understanding the various myths that shroud female sexual health can help a woman be in charge of their pregnancy week by week journey and plan well ahead. In case you find some concerns with regards to sexual health, do reach out to your doctor and consult as early as possible.