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Should You Stay On The Pill?

By Ashley Hume
Posted On May 22, 2016
Should You Stay On The Pill?

Since the Federal Drug Administration first approved use of the combined oral contraceptive pill, commonly known as “the pill”, in 1960, it has become one of the most widely used methods of birth control. With an efficacy rate of 99 percent if taken correctly, the pill’s popularity remains as strong as ever, even as newer long-term forms of contraception have emerged.

Long-term forms of birth control including hormonal implants, Depo-Provera hormonal injections, and inter-uterine devices (IUDS), are also extremely effective and their use is becoming more prevalent. Under the Affordable Care Act, each person is guaranteed one type of birth control at no out-of-pocket cost. This covers a range of birth control methods including the Pill, the NuvoRing, IUDS and injectables.

Whatever the method, if you are sexually active and not looking to become pregnant, you should be on some form of birth control. If you are one of 12 million American women currently on the pill, you might want to take another look at the pros and cons of oral contraceptives before making a switch.

Pros:

  • 99 percent effective if used perfectly, 91 percent typically.
  • Regulates and lightens menstrual cycles.
  • Decreases symptoms of PMS including cramping and acne.
  • Reduces your risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, anemia, ovarian cysts, ovarian and endometrial cancers, and ectopic pregnancy.
  • No interruption or impact on sexual activity.

Cons:

  • No protection against STIs. Condoms are the only type of contraceptive shown to prevent STIs.
  • Pill Compliance. Remembering to take the pill at the same time every day is problematic for some users and a leading reason they choose a long-term form of birth control.
  • Can’t be taken by women with certain medical problems or who are on certain medications.
  • Can cause side effects such as spotting, headaches, breast tenderness, nausea and rarely, blood clots. Increased appetite and some fluid retention are reported side effects, though contrary to popular belief; the pill does not make you gain weight.