Birth control comes in many different forms for women. The most popular options for girls are pills, shots, IUDs (we will strictly be talking about hormonal IUDs in this article), implants, vaginal rings, and patches. Of course, there are condoms for men. Now, many men just expect women to be on birth control. Some men are often confused as to why some women are not, but that's because most men are not educated on the side effects that birth control has. So dudes, grab a pen and paper, because you're about to get educated AF.
1. First let's get something clear — we don't just take birth control to not get pregnant
Believe it or not, we don't just take birth control pills to avoid your little swimmers getting to our precious eggs. So quite the narcissism. Women go on birth control for a plethora of reasons. A lot of younger girls go on it to help control their hormonal acne. Others go on it to lighten and regulate their periods. Some go on it to help with medical issues such as polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis. And, of course, we also take it to plan when exactly when we want and don't want to get pregnant.
It changes our body shape (for better or worse)
Some birth control options, such as the shot, can make women gain extra weight due to increased appetite. Other birth control pills won't make women gain weight, but will alter her body composition. In 2009 and exercise physiologist, Steven Riechman did a study on the muscle growth difference between women who were and weren't on birth control. The study concluded that women on the birth control pill, "had gained 40% less muscle than those who weren't on it," after the two groups completing 10 weeks of weight lifting. They concluded that this was due to the popular birth control hormone, progesterone.
As well, the pill affected how much and where women stored fat. Many women gained weight around their thighs, hips, and breasts due to the type of estrogen receptors those parts of the body carried. The use of synthetic hormones causing the number of cells to increase in places such as breasts (why they get bigger) is the reason why birth control increases the risk of certain cancers.
Yes, birth control pills really due increase a women's chances of getting certain cancers
Are we really surprised? Women's rights, especially women's reproductive rights, haven't been at the forefront of medicine until pretty recently. That's why it isn't that surprising that birth control options are far from perfect. Pills, the most common choice of birth control for women, have been shown to increase the risk of certain cancers. Women who currently use birth control pills have a 24% increase in the risk of getting breast cancer. Even after not using birth control pills, women who had used them have a 7% increase in the risk of breast cancer.
Women who use birth control pills are also at a pretty high risk of getting cervical cancer. "One study found a 10% increased risk for less than 5 years of use, a 60% increased risk with 5–9 years of use, and a doubling of the risk with 10 or more years of use."
However, both endometrial and ovarian cancer risks go down significantly (around 30%).
It's not you, it's our birth control
Men, you get on our nerves a lot when you leave the toilet seat up and we fall into the water during our midnight pees. But next time we flip out about it, please remember, we are on a pill that literally affects our brain and hence, mood. In a study done by scientists, the University of California observed the different areas of the brain of women who were and weren't on the birth control pill. The study concluded that both the lateral orbitofrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex were thinner in women who were on the pill compared to those who weren't. "The lateral orbitofrontal cortex is what helps us regulate emotions in response to external stimuli, while the posterior cingulate cortex helps us to evaluate our internal state of mind." This is why women who are on the pill are at an increased risk of getting depression, experiencing more anxiety, and having more mood swings.
Is this a surprise? I mean hello, we are ingesting a ton of fake hormones that trick our body into thinking its pregnant.
We still think your undeniably good-looking, but our birth control doesn't think the same
Birth control lowers the sex drive for a lot of women. In a study done, out of 1,022 people taking birth control, 470 said that their sex drive had decreased. This is because birth control pills lower the levels of testosterone, one of the main drivers in sex drive, we naturally secrete.
Being on birth control is a very personal decision that includes a lot of considerations. Before you make assumptions about the women in your life, maybe just sit down and think about the consequences they're facing.