Your choice of a birth control method depends on a number of factors, including your health, how often you have sex, and whether or not you want children.
What’s “best” among birth control methods differs from person to person. What’s right for you may not be right for everyone. And your needs may change over time, too.
There are myths about the use of birth controls. And here are some of the questions that most males and females ask about the use of contraceptives.
Buzz Feed in an interview with Dr. Sophia Yen, MD, MPH who is an Associate Professor of Paediatrics in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at the Stanford Medical School and CEO and CO-Founder of Panda Health clarifies some of the questions that people have mythically believed in.
Can birth control pills render women infertile in the long run?
No. What it is, is that 10% of women have PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome). PCOS women will have a hard time getting pregnant. So if you put all women on birth control, and then take them off, you expect 10% of women to have a hard time getting pregnant. It is NOT because of the birth control, it’s because of the PCOS. Oddly enough, for PCOS women, sometimes being on the birth control (which normalizes their hormones) then coming off is when they are most fertile because that is when their hormones are most normal
Can an IUD be punctured through the uterine wall if your partner/spouse has a large penis?
No. Usually, it happens on the insertion of the IUD by the practitioner. Or the practitioner stuck it in the wall and the uterine contractions pushed it through. But not by a penis.
Is there a ‘window’ of time for me to take my oral birth control? I know you have to take it at the same time every day for it to be effective, but what if I miss the mark by 15 minutes? Am I still OK?
If you are on the progesterone-only pills, you have a 3-hour window. If you are 3 hours or more late, you need to use emergency contraception if you had sex within the past 5 days and use a backup method or abstain for the next 5 days (while you catch up). If you are on the ‘regular’ estrogen AND progesterone ‘combined’ pills, then there is a larger window.
You can miss 1 pill and still be OK. 2 pills sometimes OK. But at 3 pills, definitely consider emergency contraception if you had sex within the past 5 days and use a backup method or abstain for the next 5 days (while you catch up).
Is it normal for my acne to seem to get worse after starting the pill? (I’m taking the one with estrogen and progestin.)
Going on the pill changes up your hormones. Sometimes it takes 1–3 months to get used to the hormones and then things to calm down. Theoretically, all birth control pills should help with acne. Sometimes it’s the hormone in the pill that you were prescribed. For acne, we recommend less androgenic progestins such as norgestimate (if you are not skipping bleeds), desogestrel (if you are skipping bleeds) and drospirenone (if the other two don’t work and you can drink 8 glasses of water a day). There are also a few others you can try
Within the past few months, I’ve started spotting while on a certain type of pill. Why would that start happening when I never had that problem before?
If you have been on that pill awhile, then most likely it is because you have changed something else — for example, a supplement (which can affect absorption) or an over the counter cold medicine like pseudoephedrine or another medicine (which revs up your liver and chews through hormones more). Other things that might cause spotting are a polyp, a sexually transmitted infection causing your cervix to be friable (easy to be irritated and bleed), or weight gain/loss
Do you still ovulate with an IUD?
With the copper IUD, yes. With the IUD with hormones, 65% of women still do. And if you are on the “lower hormone” IUD, then you’re more likely to have more ovulation given the lower hormone.”
Is it true that oral contraceptives can give you symptoms of depression?
Recent studies indicate that women who do not suffer from PMDD-induced depression symptoms are at a slight increase in depression when taking certain hormonal forms of birth control. Although the risk of depression is increased for all types of hormonal birth control, the chance is incredibly small. Because studies in this arena are new and the science behind it emerging, there is no conclusive data on who is most susceptible to this increased risk yet
What are the failure rates of having your tubes tied vs. a vasectomy? Which one is more painful or has longer recovery time?
Vasectomy beats tubal ligation (i.e. getting your “tubes tied”) in efficacy. It is 3x as effective as tubal ligation in typical use and is far less invasive. Getting to the fallopian tubes you go through the abdomen (which has many layers of muscle) and is much more invasive. Also, with tubal ligation, there are far more risks, it’s far costlier, and the side effects are far more serious.
I’ve had an IUD for almost 5 years and it’s about time to change it. I’ve recently been wondering if there are any long term effects I should be concerned about?
There are no long term effects known from having an IUD in for 5 years. And it is ‘known’ that having an IUD does not affect your future fertility.
How uncomfortable is it really to get an IUD inserted or removed? It doesn’t seem like it would be all that pleasant to get it inserted or removed so I’m a bit wary of it
Each person is different and it depends on how you ‘feel’ your monthly cramps compared to another person with a uterus. It also depends on if you are on your period or not when you get it done or whether your provider uses a Para cervical block or not. Generally, I advise women to get it on their period. NOT the first day but the last days — so, like, days 4–5 of bleeding. I also suggest to pre-medicate with 600 mg of ibuprofen with food 30 minutes to one hour ahead of time. Bring a heating pad, some music to distract you. Ask for the Para cervical block
Is it normal for birth control to cause a lot of white discharge?
That might be Bacterial Vaginosis, which is not an issue unless it bothers you or you are pregnant and have a history of preterm births. BV is more likely to be brought on by monthly hormonal changes, foreign bodies (e.g. penis, condoms, sex toys), douche, or oral sex. See your provider get it checked. They can see if it’s normal or abnormal if they have a microscope in their office. (Not all doctors have the microscope).