You know those tiny little pills you’re supposed to take each day at the same time every month? Yes, I’m talking about birth control pills. I bet you didn’t know that asides preventing pregnancy, they have several other less known uses you will thank your doctor for, if you’re thought to need them. Seriously. Even if you’re not sexually active, you could still benefit from taking these hormonal analogues, especially the pills that come in combination form containing both progesterone and estrogen.
Let me explain how the pills work. By taking these combination pills every day around the same time, the hormones suppress the signal from your brain to your ovaries to make a follicle (which is essentially your egg for the month). This means you won’t ovulate.
In addition, the pills also cause the tissue (blood vessels and stuff) that normally lines the uterus (womb) every month in preparation for a fetus (baby) to be thinner. This all results in a much lighter, shorter and less painful period.
Now, about those benefits I mentioned earlier….
- The pills can totally help your period get on a schedule. Ladies who have their periods show up at really irregular lengths of time will get a lot of relief when they know when to expect their period each month. You could finally get that 28day cycle of your dreams. Sometimes that uterine tissue lining I mentioned earlier might prove too thin in a month and your body might decide to give you a break. You might not get a period at all in some months, and that’s not a problem. In fact, some women think that’s great!
- Are you aware that you can totally get rid of those menstrual cramps and change your life? Yes you can! If you get really bad aches, pains, or even shiver during your period, your body might be secreting high levels of prostaglandin which can cause intense contractions and more severe cramping. Some women may end up hospitalised for this. Birth control pills prevent ovulation, which in turn reduces the amount of prostaglandin produced in the ovaries. This all equals less problems.
- Another common cause for painful periods is endometriosis. When endometrium (….yeah that’s the medical name for that pesky tissue lining….) grows outside of the uterus it is called endometriosis. Never heard of it? I’m not surprised. Anyways, that endometrium is supposed to grow thick every month and shed every month, resulting in a period. Sometimes, the endometrium that’s normally supposed to be confined inside the uterus migrates and implants itself outside the uterus, somewhere else in the pelvis. So, much the same way as the birth control pill stabilizes the lining of the uterus, it stabilizes the endometriosis too.
- Some ladies get really bad acne (pimples) around the time of their monthly period. Even with adjusted diet, reduced stress levels, and the purchase and use of tons of products, their menstrual cycle can still ruin everything. Hormones make you crazy in more ways than one. The oil glands in the skin get stimulated to produce more oil. Overproduction of oil leads to clogged pores and acne. These pills can sometimes be very helpful in controlling really problematic acne by keeping hormone levels more steady, so there is less stimulation of the oil glands. This results in fewer clogged pores and noticeably less acne.
- With the high incidence of cancers spiraling out of control, it might be beneficial to some ladies to know that a lot of medical research and data has found that combined oral contraceptive pills offers long-term protection against both ovarian and endometrial cancers.
This does not all mean women should go to the nearest pharmacy and stock up on contraceptive pills, because I am sure we all know that as with any medication, there can of course, be side effects. However, if you think you can benefit from taking the birth control pill, ask your doctor if it’s right for you, or ask me.