Birth control pills, which is also known as oral contraceptives, have got other uses and benefits other than their use for pregnancy prevention.
Of course, their primary use is for pregnancy prevention. This is even evident in their group name, birth control pills or oral contraceptives.
Benefits and uses of birth control pills other than pregnancy prevention include the following:
- Regulation of periods
- Management of endometriosis
- Management of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Treatment of dysmenorrhea
- Management of PMS/PMDD
- Management of Hirsutism and Alopecia
- Prevention of anemia
- Management of acne
- Reduction of risk of cancer:
1. Regulation of periods
As stated before, the combination oral contraceptives contain the hormones progestin and estrogen, which is taken for 3 weeks of the cycle.
It also comprises placebo pills, making up for last week.
During the first 3 weeks, contraception and menstruation is prevented, while during the last week, bleeding occurs.
Now, this serves to regulate the menstrual flow, especially as there are pull packs that contain up to 3 months of continuous active pills.
This will enable one to avoid discomfort that comes with the flow at times like events or sports or exams.
Ones get to have her flow as often as 4 times a year.
2. Management of endometriosis
For women that have endometriosis, the use of birth control pills is an added advantage as it allows one to skip periods.
Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium (the tissue lining the uterus) grows outside the uterus.
This causes painful menstruation and heavy flow.
3. Management of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance condition in which the ovaries make more than the required amount of testosterone.
This can cause acne and irregular periods.
Most women with PCOS are susceptible to the formation of ovarian cysts.
Birth control pills help balance your periods, regulate the hormones and prevent these cysts from growing.
4. Treatment of dysmenorrhea
Birth control pills are helpful to women with dysmenorrhea.
A good number of the female population go through painful menstruation.
During menstruation, a chemical called prostaglandin is released.
This is responsible for the uterine contractions known as period cramps.
For women whose bodies produce large amounts of the chemical, their cramps are more intense and painful.
Birth control pills prevent ovulation, which in turn prevent the release of prostaglandins. This way, painful menstruation is prevented.
5. Management of PMS/PMDD:
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) occurs in some women during the days leading to menstruation.
It is usually resolved at the onset of menstruation.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is the severe form of Premenstrual Syndrome.
It consists of physical and behavioral symptoms like extreme sadness, irritation, bloating, breast tenderness, weight gain, etc.
Birth control pills help to reduce these symptoms by balancing the hormones.
6. Management of Hirsutism and Alopecia
Some women develop excess hair (body hairs and beards) and experience loss of hair due to the production of extra male hormones.
The use of birth control pills help to reduce these androgens and increase the production of substances that bind the hormones circulating in the blood stream. This way, hirsutism and alopecia is managed.
7. Prevention of anemia
Women with heavy menstrual flow are at risk of developing anemia.
Birth control pills thins the lining of the uterus and consequently allows for a lesser menstrual flow.
8. Management of acne
Acne usually occur as a result of hormonal fluctuations during the cycle.
The combination oral contraceptives are effective in the reduction of sebum production and clear acne.
9. Reduction of risk of cancer
People who take birth control pills are at decreased risk of getting ovarian and uterine cancer.
This sounds paradoxical actually because one of the side effects of birth control pills is an increase in ovarian and breasts cancer risks.
Studies have shown that there is a 30-50% reduced risk of ovarian and uterine cancer in women that take the pill.
Also, the longer you take the pill, the lower your chances become.