The birth control pill is one of the most commonly used methods of contraception. If you are currently using or thinking about using oral contraceptives, it’s important to be aware of some of the myths regarding the pill. Here are six common misconceptions about using birth control pills.
Myth #1: The pill puts you at a higher risk of cancer.
The birth control pill has actually been linked to lower instances of ovarian and endometrial cancers. Oral contraceptives were once thought to increase the risk of breast cancer, but new research shows that there is little or no risk, according to Planned Parenthood.
Myth #2: Long-term use of oral contraceptives leads to infertility.
The birth control pill is irreversible, no matter how long you have been using it. Ovulation generally begins within four to six weeks after you stop using the pill, according to the American Pregnancy Association. If you are unable to become pregnant after using oral contraceptives, it’s likely due to another health condition.
Myth #3: The birth control pill causes the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
Long-term use of oral contraceptives has been linked to HPV, the virus which is responsible for genital warts and cervical cancer. The reason likely has little to do with the pill, however. Women on the pill may be less likely to use condoms. Birth control pills don’t protect against HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Myth #4: Oral contraceptives cause weight gain.
For years, women have been making claims that using the pill has made them gain weight. Some women will never gain weight on the pill, while others may notice a change. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, progestin-only oral contraceptives have been linked to weight gain, but combination birth control pills have not.
Myth #5: Taking the pill while you’re pregnant can harm your unborn baby.
Using the pill during pregnancy has not been linked to birth defects, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. That said, it’s not recommended for women to continue using oral contraceptives if they suspect that they may be pregnant.
Myth #6: Extended-cycle birth control pills aren’t safe.
Extended-cycle birth controls allow you to have four menstrual periods a year. Just like with traditional birth control pills, you will only experience withdrawal bleeding on extended-cycle birth control pills since ovulation has been suppressed, according to the Mayo Clinic. No research has found that suppressing your menstrual period for any length of time is unsafe.
Certain people, based on their medical history or inability to remember to take pills on a daily basis, are not the best candidates for this method of contraception. If you have any questions about the side effects or effects of using the pill long-term, be sure to ask your doctor.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational purposes only. Anyone who is concerned about their health should seek medical attention from a licensed healthcare provider.
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Pregnancy Association