Let’s Discuss: Birth Control

Photo from everydayhealth.com

For forever, there have been many debates over whether to take birth control or not. Although it is safe, it can come with side effects: positive and negative. Some women find that birth control has worked wonders for them, while others did not want to deal with the unwanted side effects. Birth control can sometimes be taboo for some women to talk about, but there should be zero shame or embarrassment. It is a normal part of life that should be able to be discussed more openly.

Many women have taken to TikTok to share their experiences with birth control, coming off of it, or their decision to never start. Just like everything on the internet, there can be horror stories that can scare people away from trying birth control. However, other people share their successes and gynecologists have accounts to offer information and combat myths. Most women on the platform are referring to oral contraceptives or “The Pill”. Some of the side effects can include weight gain, acne, painful periods, nausea, headaches, etc. Comparatively, some people had these symptoms go away once opting into taking the pill. This is why is it crucial to speak to your doctor to make the best decision for you.

Why Some Women Are Steering Away

In an article written by INSIDER, they shared survey results from Cosmopolitan. It concluded that “70% of participants have considered stopping or stopped taking oral contraceptive pills over the past three years.” They then spoke with Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale University School of Medicine, and Dr. Alyssa Dweck, a gynecologist in New York to determine why if, fewer women are using birth control, is there a reason?

What they discovered was that there were various reasons for this shift. Primarily, women are becoming worrisome about the longstanding birth control myths. More specifically, the long-term effects of the high percentage of hormones in oral contraceptives and how it might affect them down the road. Secondly, the doctors noticed an increase in the amount of IUD requests.

Photo from NPR.org

VALLEY decided to reach out to Penn State students and get their experiences. Upon speaking to them, we gathered similar information as the survey that Cosmopolitan conducted.

One student told VALLEY, “I decided to go on the birth control pills to control my acne and to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. After a few months, I was gaining weight, my mood was different and my acne did not improve in the way that I wanted.” She continued by telling us, “Initially I was scared to go on the pill because of all of the negative side effects that could arise.”

We spoke to another student who never went on birth control to get her perspective. She told VALLEY, “I never went on the pill because I was too wary of the side effects that could happen to me. I did not want to gain weight, because I was already self-conscious about that.” VALLEY asked if she would ever consider a different form of birth control. She told us, “I have considered getting an IUD implanted because friends and family that I have spoken to have had nothing but good things to say about it.”

As always, there are two sides to every story.

Why Some Women Swear By Their Birth Control

Just as some people didn’t like the way birth control made them feel, some women found themselves feeling better once starting. Women are prescribed birth control for various other reasons besides preventing an unwanted pregnancy. These reasons could include acne, heavy periods, painful cramping, irregular periods, etc. gynecologists work with their patients to find the best pill to place them on. In most cases, patients see a true difference in all of these things and know they are protected from getting pregnant.

VALLEY reached out to a student who has been taking the pill for an extended amount of time. She explained to VALLEY that “I have been taking birth control for two years and when I first went on I was so relieved. My first period after starting was drastically better and since then I knew the pill was right for me.” We decided to ask her if she was ever apprehensive of potential side effects in the long term. She replied, “I obviously did not want to experience that, but with everything comes with risks, and I am so happy I did because my menstrual cycle has improved dramatically and I couldn’t imagine coming off.” Many other women feel this exact same way.

Photo from Healthline.com

According to the CDC, a study conducted between the years 2017-2019 concluded that 65% of women aged 15-49 were currently using contraception. That is more than half the population which truly shows the number of women who either like their birth control or don’t experience harsh negative effects.

On the internet, it can be hard to hear of other users’ horror stories or bad experiences because in most cases, more people post the bad rather than the good. That is something to keep in mind with all things. In this situation, it is important to talk to your doctor to discuss if birth control is right for you.


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