Contraceptives: The Controversy and The Facts

Contraceptives, also known as birth control, are a very hot topic right now not only in Arizona but around the nation. From politicians talking about pending bills to moms sitting at play dates, contraceptives and their uses are being discussed at length right now. But let’s take a look at the facts. Why are women using contraceptives? Are contraceptives just for birth control? What are the medical reasons for using contraceptives?

Why are Women Using Contraceptives?

Women use ‘the pill’ for many reasons; to lower cancer risk, help clear up blemishes in the skin, ease painful periods, ease PMS, ease endometriosis, and control unwanted pregnancies. OB GYN’s prescribe contraceptives to women of all ages, for all of the mentioned reasons.contraception

Are Contraceptives Just for Birth Control?

While the debate rages on regarding pregnancy, birth control and ‘the pill,’ the reality of the situation is that contraceptives are prescribed every day for many other medical reasons. Nearly 11.5 million women use The Pill, and according to NPR over 1.5 million women use birth control for anything but birth control and 762,000 of those women have never had sex.

In a study conducted by the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute, using information from a federal survey the ‘National Survey of Family Growth,’ the Institute found that less than half of all women using birth control, approximately 42 percent, ‘used it exclusively for contraception.’ (See the NPR Article here).

What are the Medical Reasons for Using Contraceptives?

  • Acne: Contraceptives are often prescribed to teenage girls for extreme acne situations. According to WebMD, estrogen helps to clear your skin ‘by decreasing levels of testosterone.’
  • Manage Painful Periods: Many women spend one week out of every single month in a great deal of pain due to painful periods. OB GYN’s will often prescribe The Pill to help these women manage these painful periods. The Pill also facilitates a smoother transition into the second half of a women’s cycle when hormonal shifts can cause dramatic PMS symptoms.
  • Endometriosis: The Pill is often prescribed to reduce the hormones that cause uterine-lining tissue to grow in other areas of the pelvis, which can lead to endometriosis.
  • Migraines: As the hormones change within a woman’s body and estrogen levels drop, those hormonal changes can trigger painful migraines. The Pill can decrease these hormone migraines.
  • Polycycstic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): According to EveryDayHealth.com, Around five million women have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a serious condition that can lead to infertility, irregular periods, multiple ovarian cysts, and pelvic pain. For many, treatment will include the pill, which helps correct the hormonal imbalance and relieve some of the symptoms like an irregular period.
  • Cancer: Taking oral contraceptives (OCs) can slash your risk for both endometrial and ovarian cancer by more than 70 percent after 12 years; even just one to five years may lower your risk by 40 percent, according to WebMD. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that “30,000 cases of ovarian cancer worldwide could be prevented each year” through contraception use.

As contraception remains in the spotlight, we want your opinion of the controversy. Let us know on our Facebook Page. And, as always, if you have questions regarding birth control contact us today.

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