Common Uses of Contraception

Common Uses of Contraception | Dr. Ali Ghahary

Nowadays, contraception isn’t just about preventing pregnancy. It has many other uses including treating symptoms related to menstruation and other health issues. As a result, contraception can have a significant improvement on one’s quality of life.

As mentioned, preventing pregnancy isn’t the only reason contraception is used. However, it is one of the most common reasons why. The reasons, however, vary from person to person and couple to couple. Some individuals may never want to have children and therefore decide to use birth control whenever they are sexually active, others may want to use contraception until they feel as though they’re at a stable enough place in their lives to be able to care for a child or more children (such as financially), and some may decide they want to use contraception to space out the length of time in which they decide they want to get pregnant again. Regardless of the reason, contraception is a very personal choice. There are also different types of contraception that individuals will use, including condoms, birth control pills, birth control shots, and IUDs – also known as Intrauterine Devices.

Aside from preventing unwanted pregnancies, there are many other reasons why women turn to contraception. The birth control pill, for example, is also commonly prescribed to women who have problematic periods – i.e. if severe cramping and heavy bleeding is involved, as well as if they are long-lasting. Taking the pill can reduce cramps and lighten periods. It can also help to regulate your periods and make them easier to predict. Or, birth control can be used to stop your periods all together – though, if you intend on using it for this purpose, you should also ensure that your family physician and OB/GYN (if you have one) is aware. If you are taking the pill to skip your period, it isn’t uncommon to have some spotting – at least initially – but this typically goes away after 6 months.

Women will also commonly develop headaches and migraines as a result of their periods, which are triggered by a shift in hormones. While it’s still possible to develop headaches when taking birth control, many women who take birth control have reported a significant improvement and decrease in severity of their headaches and/or migraines as well as how often they get them, making it much easier for them to function and get back to their day-to-day activities.

Acne is also common during a women’s menstrual cycle. On average, a menstrual cycle is 28 days. During the first half of that cycle the dominating hormone is estrogen, while in the second half of the cycle the dominating hormone is progesterone. It is the increase of progesterone levels that then causes pores to compress shut, skin to swell, and sebum to build-up and become trapped under the skin’s surface. While our skin generally needs sebum, this build-up is what can lead to acne. When you take birth control, you increase the release of a protein known as SHBG in the blood. This soaks up any testosterone in a woman’s bloodstream, and once there is less testosterone you are less likely to develop acne. Keep in mind that when you first start taking birth control, you may actually notice an increase in your acne outbreaks, but this is something that will decrease as your body adjusts to the medication.

Other advantages of birth control include decreasing your risk of uterine and ovarian cancer, ovarian cysts, reduce your risk of anemia, and can also help manage symptoms associated with endometriosis.