When it comes to birth control, there are a variety of different options to choose from. However, the majority of sexually active women still choose hormonal pills as their birth control method of choice. Despite its popularity, the birth control pill comes with several risks, and the side effects can greatly affect your fertility, hormones, and cause other health issues. Some hormonal birth control options may even have an abortifacient effect – even though they are only marketed as preventing pregnancy. Besides the birth control pill, other popular hormonal birth control options include intrauterine devices – otherwise known as IUDs – and the Depo-Provera injection.
But how do these birth control methods affect your body? What are some important risks and side effects you should know about them? We’ll answer these questions in this post.
HORMONAL BIRTH CONTROL (THE PILL)
Hormonal birth control pills are one of the most popular birth control methods. There are two main options for hormonal birth control: combination and progestin-only. Combination hormonal birth control pills work by releasing a higher dose of estrogen and progestin than the reproductive system normally makes. This prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg, the process called ovulation. These hormones also thicken the cervical mucus, making it more difficult for the sperm to reach the egg to fertilize it.
Progestin-only pills, also known as the mini-pill, only release progestin and do not release estrogen. The progestin dose is lower in the mini pill and ovulation prevention is not as reliable.
There are side effects to taking the birth control pill, in addition to the concerns about how concentrated synthetic hormones affect your body. They include decreased libido, depression, mood changes, and weight gain.
IUDs, or intrauterine devices, are heavily marketed as an alternative to the birth control pill. Hormonal IUDs work by preventing sperm from being able to access the egg for fertilization by thickening the mucus and thinning the cervical lining.
Non-hormonal IUDs, made with copper, prevent pregnancy by damaging sperm. Although they don’t have any hormones, copper IUDS seems to trigger an immune response to your body to halt an embryo’s development, which goes beyond simply preventing pregnancy.
In addition to this, IUDs also carry some serious risks. These include a higher likelihood of developing pelvic inflammatory disease, which can affect your fertility and overall health, pain with insertion, and complications – including higher probabilities of an ectopic pregnancy – if you do get pregnant while using an IUD.
The last hormonal birth control option we’ll talk about today is the Depo-Provera. Depo-Provera is an injection taken every three months, and it works by suppressing ovulation and thickening cervical mucus.
One of the biggest side effects of Depo-Provera is that it can cause a delay in fertility after you stop taking it – sometimes up to 10 months. You might also experience mood swings, irregular periods, and it is not recommended if you suffer from depression.
THERE ARE OTHER OPTIONS
Despite their popularity, hormonal birth control pills chemically alter the hormones in your body and can cause some serious side effects as a result. But the good news is that there are other options. Call us or schedule your free consultation to find out more.