Impact of Hormonal Contraceptives on Women's Health

 Debunking Common Myths

Author : Dr. Prathima Reddy 

Director & Lead Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, SPARSH Hospital, Bangalore. 

When it comes to women’s health, understanding contraceptives holds significant importance. Not only do these methods provide women with agency over their reproductive choices, but they also play a crucial role in promoting overall well-being.

There's a plethora of myths surrounding contraceptive methods, ranging from worries about side effects to misunderstandings about long-term effect. It is important women should understand the use of Hormonal Contraceptives and use it under the doctor’s guidance. Instead of looking at internet, it is always advisable to take the correct advice from the doctor. There are certain misconceptions that needs to be busted to ensure proper usage of the contraceptives says Dr. Prathima Reddy, Director & Lead Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, SPARSH Hospital, Bangalore.

Myth 1: Hormonal contraceptives cause weight benefit

This is one of the most prevalent misconceptions. Studies show any weight adjustments while starting hormonal contraceptives are small and transient. While some women may experience minor weight fluctuations when starting a hormonal contraceptive, studies have shown that any changes are minimal and not significant enough to attribute solely to the use of contraceptives.

Myth 2: Hormonal contraceptives impact fertility

Contrary to popular notion, the use of hormonal contraceptives does not affect a woman's future fertility. Once a woman stops taking hormonal birth control, her fertility usually returns to normal within a few menstrual cycles. In fact, hormonal contraceptives can be beneficial for women who want to postpone pregnancy by providing effective birth control until they are prepared to enter motherhood.

Myth 3: Hormonal contraceptives increase the risk of cancer

There is a common misconception that hormonal contraceptives, especially oral contraceptives, enhance the threat of developing cancers. However, studies have shown that hormonal contraceptives can in reality lower the risk of certain cancers, such as ovarian and endometrial cancers. Additionally, any possible increase in breast cancer related to hormonal contraceptives is small and often outweighed with the defensive effects towards other kinds of cancer.

Myth 4: Hormonal contraceptives affects your mental health.

Another myth surrounding hormonal contraceptives is their alleged link to mental health problems which includes depression and anxiety. While a few women may experience mood adjustments while starting a brand-new contraceptive method, but the major research suggests that hormonal contraceptives do not affect mental health. In fact, for many women, hormonal contraceptives can offer peace of mind and improve overall well-being by allowing them to plan and space their pregnancies.

Myth 5: Hormonal contraceptives are only used for birth control.

While preventing pregnancy is one of the primary purposes of hormonal contraceptives, they offer various additional health benefits. For instance, hormonal contraceptives can help regulate menstrual cycles, alleviate symptoms of conditions such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and reduce the risk of developing ovarian cysts. Moreover, some hormonal contraceptives, such as the contraceptive patch and the hormonal IUD, can be used to manage heavy menstrual bleeding.

It's essential to separate fact from fiction when it comes to discussions about hormonal contraceptives and women's health. While these methods may not be suitable for everyone, they are generally safe and effective when used as directed by your gynecologist. Debunking common myths and promoting accurate information will empower women to make informed decisions about their reproductive health and well-being. Let's continue to challenge misconceptions and advocate for access to comprehensive contraceptive care for all individuals, concludes Dr. Prathima Reddy.