Oral contraceptive pills are one of the methods for women to avoid unwanted pregnancy. When taken on time, it has proved to be highly effective. However, much like any other birth control option, there are several myths surrounding OCPs that we need to debunk. It's 2022 and women can exercise their right to choose without worries.
Dr Sadhna Singhal Vishnoi, Senior Consultant- Obstetrics & Gynaecologist, at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, New Delhi, shone a spotlight on myths that surround oral contraceptive pills.
Myth 1: OCP Prevents STIs
Dr Vishnoi explains that the only way to prevent sexually transmitted infections is via a condom, the barrier method. Contraceptive pills, patches and intrauterine devices only help to avoid pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation. They have good success rates. However, the only way to prevent these diseases is by practising safe vaginal, oral and anal sex.
Myth 2: OCPs Cause Cancer
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 14% of women between the age group of 15 and 49 use birth control pills. However, much like any other medication, they come with risks and side effects.
Dr Vishnoi says these pills slightly increase the chance of cervical and breast cancer. They definitely do not cause cancer. On the other hand, these pills reduce the chances of a woman getting ovarian, endometrial and colorectal cancer.
Myth 3: OCPs Can Cause Abortion Or Miscarriage
Oral contraceptive pills help to avoid pregnancies when used on time. Most of them are approximately 99% effective. They prevent ovulation and thicken the cervical mucus to prevent the sperm from entering the uterus.
Hence, if women consume OCPs on time, the chances of pregnancy become rare, almost nil. These birth control pills definitely do not lead to miscarriage, abortion or stillbirths.
Myth 4: OCPs Cause Weight Gain
Our expert says there is insufficient evidence to prove OCPs or a combination of birth control options can cause weight gain. The lifestyle of a woman plays a significant role in her weight gain or loss journey.
Myth 5: OCPs Can Be Taken Without Consultation
Dr Vishnoi strictly advises against consuming OCPs without consulting a doctor. The expert decides how much of the hormones a woman’s body needs. Based on the examination and test results, the doctor will prescribe a certain kind of OCP.
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Myth 6: OCPs Cause Irregular Hair Growth
Birth control pills have side effects. Many women experience hair thinning, or some might even experience hair fall after stopping the consumption of birth control pills. However, there is no irregular growth.
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Myth 7: OCPs Affect Fertility Of Women
OCPs do not affect the fertility of women in any way. It has no positive or negative side effects on the age-appropriate fertility period. Women must not believe this myth when looking for birth control options.
Oral contraceptive pills help to avoid pregnancies when used on time. They do not lead to miscarriage, abortion or stillbirths.
Myth 8: Skipping More Than One Pill Is Okay
No, it is not. Dr Vishnoi says that skipping one pill may be okay as long as a woman takes one at the scheduled time. However, if a woman skips two pills, it would hamper the entire cycle. OCPs will no longer work to prevent pregnancies in that cycle. Women definitely have to consider another method to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
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