Women's Health Wednesday April 8, 2015

What Else Can Contraception Do?

Most people will agree that hormonal contraceptives are a useful part of modern life, enabling couples to avoid an unwanted pregnancy or delay parenthood until later on. Not everyone wants to have children and many people feel that they would be better waiting. But did you know contraceptives can be a great help in a number of other ways too? Although hormonal contraceptives were not actually designed to treat these conditions, we've written up just a few examples of the other things contraception can do for you.

Relieve the effects of acne

Though testosterone is more commonly associated with men, it is also produced, to a lesser extent, by women. The issue is that testosterone can cause sebum (oil) production to increase, which in turn can cause breakouts. Some birth control options actually work to reduce the testosterone in the body and can, as a side effect, cause breakouts to decrease in frequency and severity.

Ease the pain

Oral contraceptives can ease the occurrence of those side effects we'd rather be without. The period is a natural and important thing, but sometimes you just don't feel like putting up with the mood swings, do you? Some birth control pills supply your body with a constant level of oestrogen and progesterone, decreasing the severity and frequency of premenstrual symptoms like bloating and water retention in many women.

Lighten your periods

Oral contraceptives delay and slow the growth of the endometrial lining that sheds itself each month. By doing so, the pill helps to make your periods lighter – the science is easy and it's simply a case of less lining leading to less pain and flow. There are also some contraceptives that reduce the number of periods you experience, and some of the longer acting contraceptive options even lighten your periods for months at a time.

Prevent menstrual migraines

Three weeks into your cycle each month your estrogen levels drop to their lowest level. That's what brings on a period and your headaches. Since most women experience shortened periods on the pill, they can also expect shortened lengths of time where they are at risk of these headaches showing up. If menstrual migraines do cause you undue pain, though, there can often be alternatives that a doctor can suggest to ease the pain.

Promote gynaecological health

Oral contraceptives can dramatically reduce the risk of ovarian cancer and the longer you take them, the better. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found a drop of between 10 and 12% in the risk after one year of use, and there was approximately a 50% drop after five years. If that wasn't enough reason to use the pill, it has also been linked to lower risk of endometrial cancer, pelvic inflammation and ectopic pregnancies.

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