If you are not yet ready to have kids, you may consider hormonal contraception. Hormonal birth control methods include birth control tablets, stick-on patches, insertable vaginal rings, injections, and implants. They will require a prescription. They employ hormones similar to those found in your body to prevent an egg from being fertilized by sperm.
Hormonal contraceptives are quite effective when used correctly. However, each hormonal contraception option has advantages and disadvantages. Before deciding on a contraceptive method, you should weigh the pros and cons of hormonal contraception.
Pros of hormonal contraception
The primary reasons for using birth control are obviously to avoid pregnancy. Hormonal birth control is very effective. It prevents unplanned pregnancy up to 99% of the time when taken as indicated.
Moreover, because hormonal contraceptives thin the uterine lining, they tend to make periods lighter. This is a significant benefit for women who have heavy periods on a regular basis. Even if you don’t have heavy periods, lighter periods are easier to deal with.
Hormonal contraceptives can alleviate menstrual cramps, which is beneficial if you have cramping before or during your period. You can even use hormonal birth control to avoid your period entirely.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a more severe type of premenstrual syndrome, affects certain women (PMS). If you have PMDD or have substantial PMS symptoms every month, hormonal birth control can help.
Other possible advantages, depending on the birth control option you use and how your body reacts, include:
- Lighter signs of endometriosis
- Fewer or no periods.
- Less discomfort and bleeding during periods
- Decreased possibility of an ectopic pregnancy
Certain health advantages can be obtained with combined birth control tablets that include both estrogen and progestin. They may provide some defense against:
- Anemia due to iron deficiency (especially if you have heavy periods)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (which can cause infertility if left untreated)
- Ovarian cysts
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain during sex
- Noncancerous breast tumors
- Hirsutism (excessive body hair)
- Migraines before and during menstruation
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder symptoms (PMDD)
According to research, birth control pills can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by 27% and endometrial cancer by 50% when compared to other kinds of contraception. After stopping combination birth control pills, you may be protected against getting some malignancies for up to 30 years.
Additionally, protection improves with each year of usage. If you use combination tablets for six years, you can reduce your risk of ovarian or endometrial cancer by up to 60%. According to studies, women who use the pill are 15% to 20% less likely to get colorectal cancer.
Cons of hormonal contraception
If you have trouble following a schedule and skip your birth control medicine sometimes, it will be less effective. Because no one is “perfect,” the average success rate of oral contraception is around 91%.
Another disadvantage is that hormonal contraception doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted illnesses, therefore you should use it in conjunction with a barrier technique, such as condoms. Furthermore, if you use certain drugs or supplements, such as anticonvulsants, antibiotics, or HIV meds, the contraceptive option may not function as effectively.
Hormonal contraception can induce anxiety, depression, weight gain, and acne. However, some women say that hormonal contraceptives enhance their mood and complexion. Each woman seemed to have different side effects. If the adverse effects are too severe, your doctor may advise you to switch brands or use another kind of hormonal contraception.
The bottom line
You and your gynecologist should talk about the benefits and drawbacks of hormonal contraception for you. It may take many months for side effects to entirely subside. If you continue to have side effects, your doctor may suggest you try an alternative method of contraception. It may require a bit of experimentation with several hormonal contraceptive options before you find the one that works best for your body.