With so many different birth control methods available out there with varying benefits and risks, finding the best birth control method to suit your needs may be a challenge. Read on to find out everything you need to know to make an informed decision when choosing a contraceptive method.
Birth control methods can be broadly categorised into the following:
This method prevents semen from entering the cervix. Barrier contraceptive methods include male condoms, female condoms and contraceptive diaphragms.
Hormonal methods prevent pregnancy by administering hormones to stop the ovaries from releasing eggs and keeping the cervical mucus thick, so that it’s difficult for sperms to pass through the cervix and reach the egg in the uterus. Hormones can be administered in various ways, including birth control pills, patches, injections or implants.
Other methods include withdrawal before ejaculation, avoiding sex during the most fertile days and using a non-hormonal Intrauterine Device (IUD).
You might have come across many urban myths about pregnancy prevention methods, such as how having sex in the shower or pool can prevent pregnancy. Please keep in mind that it is not true and that having sex in the shower, the pool, or any body of water can get you pregnant.
Misconceptions of Hormonal Birth Control
Despite having 91-99% effectiveness in preventing pregnancies, which is far higher than that of barrier methods, there are many misconceptions surrounding hormonal methods that deter women from using them. Here are some common misconceptions of hormonal birth control pills that you should watch out for and what you can do if you have such concerns.
Misconception 1: Birth control pills cause weight gain
Weight gain resulting from consuming birth control pills is rare, and if any, it’s often temporary due to water retention rather than fat gain. The myth that birth control pills cause weight gain might have perpetuated when birth control pills sold in the early 1960s had very high levels of estrogen and progestin that stimulated appetite.
Current birth control pills have much lower amounts of hormones so weight gain is not a likely side effect. If you are still concerned about the hormone levels in the birth control pill, speak to your doctor for alternative birth control pills with lower doses of hormones.
Misconception 2: Birth control pills affect fertility
Fertility returns almost immediately after stopping the pill, which is why you must not miss a day on the pill. This misconception could have arisen when couples in their late 30s decided to stop the pill to get pregnant, only to discover that it is not easy to do so due to a drop in their natural fertility.
Misconception 3: Birth control pills are only for contraception
Did you know that modern birth control pills may also provide other health benefits apart from preventing pregnancy?
Regulate Hormonal Levels
If you have an irregular menstrual cycle or experience heavy bleeding, hormonal birth control pills may help to balance the hormonal fluctuations and make periods lighter and more consistent.
Birth control pills can also be used to prevent the occurrence of hormonal acne. By consuming birth control pills that contain estrogen and progesterone, sudden drops and rises in hormones can be prevented. This effectively controls flushes of acne.
Lowers Risk of Medical Conditions & Certain Cancers
Research has shown that hormonal birth control pills can reduce the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer over the long term. Taking the pill for four years may cut uterine cancer risk by half. This protection can last for ten years after going off the pill.
Going on the pill can also prevent the formation of ovarian cysts, which may form in the ovaries during ovulation. While they are usually benign and resolve on their own, they can cause pain. Birth control pills prevent ovulation, which in turn prevents cyst formation and the occurrence of recurring cysts.
Alleviates Menstrual Related Pain
Contractions in your uterus during ovulation cause your painful period cramps. When the pill prevents ovulation, these painful cramps will not occur in the uterus.
Another common pain that women experience is the menstrual migraine. This occurs when their estrogen and progesterone levels drop just before the start of their period. With the oral contraceptive, you can skip your period and be spared of any associated pains.
Ready to explore your contraceptive options in Singapore? Speak to your doctor to find the most suitable birth control method for you.