To Be or Not to Be on the Pill

There are quite a few different forms of birth control and finding the right one for you can be really difficult. Female contraception is so very important and can have a profound impact on your daily life, which is why choosing the right one is necessary. Not only are there many different types (I.e. implant, daily pill, IUD, condoms, patches, shot, etc..) but they all work differently in terms of how long they last, how often they are taken, and the side effects they cause. 

Having multiple options is beneficial for women who have varying lifestyles. For example, work, religion, cultural norms, health & health issues, hobbies, and habits will impact your decision to take one form over another. Personally, I found that taking the continuous daily pill worked best for me and relieved me from periods, back pain, and acne. However, when I started working it became more of a nuisance and the unwanted side effects of mood swings and weight gain became too much for me.

When finding a new form of birth control, there are certain boxes that need to be ticked. What is the reason you are taking birth control? Is it to prevent pregnancy or to aid a health issue (cramps, acne, PCOS, endometriosis, POI, regulate periods)? How long do you want it to last until you have to take it again? A day, 3 months, 5 years? Then when you’ve narrowed it down, what are the side effects? Weight gain, heavy or light periods, spotting, acne, hair loss, mood swings, decreased libido, nausea, headaches, breast tenderness. The list is long and certainly not ideal. 

Hopefully you can find a birth control that offers what you need with minimal side effects. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each type carefully as birth control can greatly impact your life – not only physically, but mentally. Mood swings, weight gain, acne, depression and anxiety are some side effects that can impact your self-esteem and your overall mental health. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that taking birth control can even impact your taste in partners. In heterosexual relationships, women are more likely to be attracted to men who are more feminine while taking birth control as opposed to being attracted to more traditionally masculine men when not taking birth control. 

Most women will take birth control for a major chunk of their life. And because it causes so many changes in your body, it’s vital that we talk about it more even if it is sometimes seen as taboo. Women have had to endure major side effects, painful procedures, and ever changing physical and mental health from taking birth control. As a society we really have to question why we stopped the production and use of male birth control besides condoms.

Were the side effects so bad for men that women had to endure them instead? Has there not been enough time to figure male contraception yet? Reversible vasectomies were first performed in 1938. The first form of female birth control didn’t become available until the 60s. We have had plenty of time to allocate resources and research towards male birth control and reversible vasectomies. Birth control should never have been the responsibility of women when they are not the ones who are capable of impregnating hundreds of people.

Birth control can be useful for women who use it for other health purposes as well as a safety precaution in cases of sexual assault. But it really should be a two-way effort between men and women when it comes to such an impactful health issue. It is time that we reflect on that and make some changes.

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