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Myths and Facts About Birth Control

From causing you to gain weight to preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), there’s a wide range of myths that surround the world of birth control. While some myths may have merit, we prefer that you get the facts straight from us.

At Associates in Obstetrics & Gynecology, our team of women’s health experts understands that family planning is an important decision, and we want to ensure that you’re properly educated.

To help you sort through the clutter and get to the facts, we’ve pulled together a few myths and facts about birth control to help you make a decision that’s right for you.

Birth control is 100% effective

This pitfall is a dangerous one, as there are very few birth control methods that offer complete protection. While options like intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants offer 99% efficacy rates, there’s still a tiny chance you may get pregnant. Even a vasectomy or tubal ligation is considered to be 1% shy of full protection.

The only birth control that offers 100% protection is abstinence. As well, if you’ve had a hysterectomy (which we don’t consider to be birth control), you’re completely covered for obvious reasons.

If you’d like to explore efficacy rates, Planned Parenthood offers a great graphic here.

Birth control protects me against STDs

This statement is mostly false, with an exception. The only birth control option that offers some degree of protection against STDs is condoms (both male and female). The only way to fully protect yourself is to practice abstinence.

Birth control causes weight gain

Many of the birth control options regulate your hormones to prevent ovulation, and some believe that this hormonal approach affects other areas of their health, namely their weight. The fact is that every woman responds to hormonal birth control methods differently, but research suggests that there’s no quantifiable link to weight gain.

Weight gain usually stems from other issues, like fluid retention or an increase in muscle mass.

Birth control causes cancer

A decade ago, a study came out that showed a slight increase in risk for breast cancer because of hormonal birth control. Since that time, researchers have found that the study followed women who used a pill that contained three different hormones, which isn’t a common practice and one that we don’t offer here.

On the contrary, hormonal birth control methods like the pill may actually lower your risk for certain cancers, including endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancers.

Birth control affects fertility

This statement is largely false. While we regulate your ovulation when you use hormonal birth control methods, once you stop using these methods, your body should resume its normal cycles quite quickly. Any problems with fertility are usually related to other issues, and typically not your use of hormonal birth control methods.

If you have more questions about birth control, please don’t hesitate to call our office in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at (719)419-5555.

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