Michaela Peterson, Staff Writer
Picture Courtesy of Getty Images
Birth Control is a bit of a taboo subject, especially for teenage girls. They talk about it in hushed whispers, and if you bring it up first, you are open to everyone’s judgement. Because of this secrecy, there are so many myths about birth control, it’s nearly impossible to know what to believe. I want to set the record straight.
First things, first: this piece is about hormonal birth control. That means no diaphragms, condoms, or female condoms. Those need their own article.
Secondly: birth control isn’t bad, and it shouldn’t be treated like a dirty word. It’s a healthy and helpful option for many girls. It comes in several different forms, including the pill, an IUD, an implant, and the ring. Each of these has different sets of side effects and conditions attached to them. But in the end, it’s all about finding the right one for you.
The Pill is the most commonly used form of birth control in the United States, especially for teenagers. There are 3 different types of birth control pills: the combination pill, the mini pill, and the extended pill. The combination pill uses a combination of progesterone and estrogen. The mini pill is only contains progesterone and has to be taken at the same time everyday. The extended pill is a form of the combination pill that regulates your period to every 3 months.
Still worried? Here are some of the most common myths surrounding the pill that you might have heard.
The Myth: The pill makes you gain weight.
The Truth: Not true. Some women do experience weight gain while on the pill, but that is more because of water retention than actual weight gain. That problem can be fixed by shifting to a lower dose pill.
The Myth: You have to take the pill at the same time everyday.
The Truth: Only if you are on the mini pill or if you feel like you need to keep a strict regimine to remember to take it. As long as you take a pill for the day, the effectiveness of it won’t change.
The Myth: The longer you are on the pill, the harder it will be for you to get pregnant later.
The Truth: The pill has no effect on reproductive system once you stop taking it. This is why it’s important to not miss pills–but not to worry about your ability to have kids years from now.
The Myth: The pill causes cancer.
The Truth: The pill doesn’t increase any chance of cancer. In fact it can help prevent it in some cases, like ovarian, uterine, and endometrial cancers.
The Myth: The pill is only used to prevent pregnancy. If a girl takes birth control, she must be having a lot of sex.
The Truth: The pill has number of medical purposes a side from preventing pregnancy. It regulates your period, reduces menstrual cramps and menstrual flow, as well as protect you from excess facial and body hair, acne, ovarian cysts, and menstrual migraines.
All of these answers can be found quickly and easily, just by searching online. But most girls are so misinformed that they never even look or ask. We can’t just let girls walk around uninformed. Thankfully, because of Health Class with Ms. Martin in 10th grade, most girls at SLA have their answers. Every year, Martin brings in Upper Classmen who are on various forms of birth control to talk to her health classes. This helps get rid of the taboo and controversy surrounding birth control. I went to Martin to ask her if she had had any girls talk to her about starting birth control.
“I have not had a conversation with anyone about the birth control pill in quite some time,” Martin said. However, she speculated that that was because most girls come out of her class informed enough to make the right decision for them.
For me, and for a lot of girls, starting birth control was about being in control of my body and my health. When I tell people that, they generally ask for specifics. And I don’t give them any. What goes on your body is between you and your doctor. You don’t need to tell anyone you are on birth control or why. It’s your body.
Our society treats contraception like such a taboo that we shame and scare girls into thinking that wanting to start on the pill makes them a slut. The choice of whether or not you start on the pill or some other form of birth control is between you and your doctor. You have to do what is best for you and for your body. Putting yourself first isn’t shameful or bad, it’s something that you need to do. If you think that maybe you want to start on birth control, talk to your parents and your doctor. Find a method that works well for you. It might take a while, but you’ll get there. Birth Control is not something that should scare you. It’s healthy, helpful, and safe. So do your research and talk to your doctor. And remember, birth control isn’t bad.