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Birth control, more like hormone control: Get your facts straight

After talking to my fellow friends and classmates, I realized that few to none know anything about birth control. That being said, the general public seems to have just as little information.

 

Why is it called “birth control”? That’s not it’s only purpose.

Out of my group of friends, each takes it for different reasons: hormone management, cycle regulation, acne, painful cramps, migraines, and more. Notice that these reasons are all outside of controlling pregnancy.

Yet everyone has something to say when they find out we are taking birth control, and ask us why we aren’t just abstaining from sex… when those aren’t our reasons for using “birth control”.

 

My suggestion for better names:

  • cycle control
  • menstruation control
  • hormone control
  • anything that removes the connotation of solely controlling pregnancy or working as a contraceptive

 

My relationship with “birth control.”

As a cisgender female, by the time I reached age 17 and my menstrual cycle was only making an annual appearance, my doctor decided to put me on birth control. There I was, an impressionable high school student, worrying that something was wrong with my body.

She told me that I had to take it, to regulate my cycle, if I ever wanted to have kids in the future. She never explained which type of birth control she put me on (aside from that it was the pill) and that I had to take it the same time each day, indefinitely.

So here I am, at age 21, taking birth control for a reason that is still unclear. Is it my hormones? Is it my body? Is it my reproductive system? Could I try other options?

 

doctor_talking_with_a_patient

Photo by National Care Institute, Public Domain

What even are other birth control options?

Options which deal with hormones and cycle control:

  • pills (most pills are progestin only, some have estrogen and progestin)
  • implant (in arm, lasts 4 years – progestin)
  • patch (new patch each week for three weeks, one week without a patch – estrogen and progestin)
  • shot (in butt or arm, lasts 3 months – progestin)
  • vaginal ring (each month, place in vagina 3 weeks, leave out 1 week – estrogen and progestin)
  • hormonal IUD (T-shaped device placed in uterus, last 3-6 years – progestin)
  • breasfeeding (creates hormones that prevent pregnancy)

 

Options that act solely as contraceptives/ birth control:

  • copper IUD (T-shaped device places in uterus which blocks sperm)
  • sponge (placed in vagina, contains spermicide)
  • cervical cap (flexible cap that sits on cervix and blocks sperm)
  • penis condom (altered from “condom”)
  • abstinence
  • diaphragm (cup placed at the cervix to block sperm)
  • vagina condom (altered from “female condom”)
  • morning after pill (emergency contraceptive)
  • outercourse
  • spermicide (kills sperm)
  • tubal sterilization (surgery to close or block  Fallopian tube that releases eggs)
  • vasectomy (surgery that blocks tube that carries sperm)
  • withdrawl (during intercourse)
  • fertility awareness method (track ovulation)

 

4187745579_af835ef4e5_o

Photo by Raychel Mendez on Flickr, CC

Why is this important?

Because it appears that health-care officials (and sex-education programs in schools) are failing to give explicit information to people about how the hormones in these contraceptives effects their bodies.

Stemming off of that, who knows anything about these hormones and the effect they have on our bodies?

It is our right to know these things. If you have any questions, or want to do more research, Planned Parenthood is a great site to check.

Featured image by Hey Paul Studios on Flickr, CC

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