Issues with Introducing Hormones to Your Body through Birth Control

Taking pills

If you and your partner are sexually active and trying to control your reproductive future, the issue of birth control has probably come up a time or two. There are many forms of birth control on the market, from condoms and spermicidal creams to implantable methods like IUDs and pharmaceutical solutions like birth control pills, the patch and the NuvaRing. While all of these methods have their pros and cons, it is important for women to be aware of all potential side effects when using hormonal birth control.

While the use of hormones makes certain types of birth control methods effective, it may also introduce a number of potential side effects and even some long-term health risks. Doctors and scientists have long researched the link between hormones and health, and they are continually discovering new information about that link. According to MedicineNet.com, in some cases, the use of artificial hormones and hormone therapy to treat menopausal women has resulted in different types of cancers, heart attacks and other negative health outcomes.

Women should be aware of all potential risks from hormones, however big or small, when choosing a reliable form of birth control. For those seeking to prevent pregnancy without exposing themselves to the side effects and risks that may accompany these hormones, other types of non-hormonal birth control – such as condoms, spermicide, a cervical cap or the Caya® diaphragm – should be considered.

Hormonal forms of birth control include not only devices like birth control pills, the patch and the NuvaRing but long-lasting forms of birth control, such as injections and implants. These long-lasting birth control methods are often sold as a good solution for women and their partners, but is important for users to research any method before deciding which is best. The following side effects may occur as a result of hormonal birth control methods.

Headaches
Unfortunately, the use of hormone-based birth control methods can create a number of health problems for women of all ages. Many women who started using birth control pills as teenagers are already familiar with some of these side effects. Birth control pills and other hormone-based birth control methods can often trigger headaches. These headaches run the gamut – from merely annoying to severe and even debilitating. 

Mood Swings
The long-term use of hormones can sometimes create the types of mood swings many women associate with PMS and their monthly cycle. “Women can be, and many are, greatly affected by hormone fluctuations. Sometimes it gets to the point of feeling totally overwhelmed – as if for a time they have lost control of their life,” says Christiane Northrup, MD, author of The Wisdom of Menopause and Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom. Like the headaches, the severity of the mood swings can range from mild to severe.

Nausea
Often, women who use hormonal birth control methods long term also experience health effects such as nausea, which can interfere with their daily lives. The nausea can come and go or be so bad the user has to discontinue taking their birth control pills or have their implant removed.

Breakthrough Bleeding
Breakthrough bleeding is another common side effect of hormone treatments and hormone-based birth control. It isn’t painful, but its unpredictable nature can also interfere with everyday life. Bedsider.org has more information on breakthrough bleeding and spotting as a result from your birth control.

Weight Gain
It is not unusual to gain weight when using a hormone based method of birth control. Bloating and weight gain is uncomfortable and can be totally avoided by choosing a less aggressive method.

Decreased Libido
Some women may find the use of hormonal birth control methods decreases their libido and makes them less interested in sex. This can be a particularly difficult side effect of hormone-based birth control, both for women and their male partners. Fitness Magazine offers information to help decode whether birth control is the cause of your waning sex drive.

Before you or your partner agree on any form of birth control, it is important to gather all the information and research potential side effects and long-term health impacts. An informed patient is a good patient, and the more information you have the easier it will be to choose a birth control method that is effective and easy to use.

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