A Male's Guide To Female Birth Control

A Male's Guide To Female Birth Control

What the birth control pill is: facts and must-knows.
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"Birth control," "the pill," "that medication stuff that doesn’t make babies happen"… whatever you’ve always called it, this particular form of the female contraceptives is probably a mystery to you. Despite the fact that you most likely have relied on its magical powers on several crazy college nights, you might not know how it really works or if it really is working! Here is a short, but informative, list of some basic fun facts as well as must-knows before your next primal encounter.

The birth control pill is a small pill, obviously, commonly made up of two different kinds of hormones: estrogen and progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone). These are hormones that you have in your body too, just in much smaller amounts; women even have testosterone in their bodies. What the hormones ultimately do is prevent the egg from being released by the ovaries as well as making the mucus within the cervix thicker, which makes it harder for sperm to travel toward the egg. These two actions work together in an attempt to prevent the sperm from ever meeting the egg and thus preventing pregnancy.

Pregnancies can still occur with birth control. Yes…even though that’s its one and only job. The birth control pill must be taken properly, meaning it must be taken at the same exact time everyday. Or else, the chances of getting pregnant increase. According to Planned Parenthood’s article on Birth Control Pills, 1 in every 100 women each year will get pregnant despite having properly taken the pill while 9 in every 100 will become pregnant after not taking the pill as directed. So next time, ask if she’s been taking her pill properly before you find out the hard way…

Birth control isn’t just for having sex! Many women take birth control for a plethora of reasons. The pill regulates periods, so in other words her period comes on the same day of the week once each month for the same amount of days. This is super convenient because it’s not fun showing up to the beach and just getting your period whilst not having a tampon on hand. Other awesome things the pill does is help with acne, menstrual cramps, breast growth, PMS (premenstrual syndrome that includes depression) and much more.

An average single package of birth control consists of 28 pills. 21 of which contain the hormones and 7 of which are just placebo pills, which contain no hormones, nor any other medication. They are divided into sets of 4 weeks, one to be taken each day of the week at the same exact time. The reason being for the placebo pills is to help her remember to keep taking the pill; it’s so she’s constantly in the habit of taking that pill at the same time. Most, however, throw out that part if they’re expert birth control pill takers. During this week that no hormones are being ingested is when she will have her period. Then, usually, right before she begins her new package for the month is when her period will end. During the time she is not taking the medicated pills, she is still protected from pregnancy.

Finally, the myths. Common myths that you may have heard are that the pill causes weight gain and/or breast growth. The fact is that everyones body reacts differently to the pill. Some may even lose weight or their weight may not affected at all. When hormones are added to the body, wild things can happen simply because its not natural. She might become more or less hungry at times, moody, and even her sex drive might increase or decrease at times. So it's best to be understanding and supportive while she's altering the hormonal balance of her body for the sake of controlling birth.

Now, I hope you have a general understanding of how birth control works and why it is so important. It's not 100% percent effective, it's not 100% side-effect free, but it has many perks for both you and her in both the short term and long term, if you know what I mean.

Cover Image Credit: Her Campus

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Take A Break, Trust Me, You Need It

It was something I didn't know I needed. And I feel much better from it.

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I recently went on a little mini vacation. Where'd I go, you ask? Nowhere.

That's the best part.

Thankfully, I have a full-time job with great benefits. One of them being paid time off. I recently used all of my PTO, plus the two days I get off a week, which turned into a long and well-needed mini staycation. I stayed at home, slept, caught up on my programs, did some homework, and decluttered.

And you know what? It was something I didn't know I needed. And I feel much better from it.

I wasn't sick. I was mainly just stressed out and overwhelmed. It was like getting the rest I didn't know I was lacking. It was like having all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. No due dates, no deadlines. No time crunches, no schedules to follow (except my school one).

I'm not telling you to take a week off work and school. But, if you have that opportunity—PTO, spring break—then take advantage of it.

You don't have to go on some extravagant vacation either. Doing something as simple as staying in bed all day, watching Netflix, and spending time with your loved ones is just as relaxing.

It also taught me the importance of self-love and taking care of yourselves. I was stressed, and I feel like I'll never be fully "de-stressed," but for a while, I was able to sit back and smell the roses. I was able to recollect myself, spend some time on me.

Sometimes, you just need a day. Whenever I feel like I need a day off, whether it be with work or school, I usually feel bad about it. I feel awful missing class, or having to call out sick to work. I eventually get over it, though, because at the end of the day, I'm taking care of myself.

Missing one day won't kill you. Take care of your mental health.

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