Just Say No to Birth Control

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Birth control has grown in popularity over the last two decades with many women using it at some point in their lifetime. Coming in many forms, birth control is most often used to prevent unwanted pregnancy but it is also commonly used to help regulate menstrual cycles (which is just crazy – especially if you have not considered changing your diet or getting your spine checked by a corrective chiropractor!). The two main types of birth control are a synthetic estrogen and progestin combination dosage and a progestin-only dosage. Birth control works by stabilizing hormones and preventing a peak in estrogen that triggers ovulation. Although birth control is widely available, there have been concerns about the safety of using these methods of contraception due to dangerous side effects.  After all – how healthy can putting  hormone into your  body be?

Manipulating hormones can have many unpleasant effects. Synthetic hormones contain a protein called SHGB that lowers testosterone levels. This can affect a person’s sex life by causing a lack of desire, hindering the ability to achieve orgasm, and potentially causing pain during sex due to a lack of arousal. Although this is not a life-threatening side effect, it can be a very uncomfortable and frustrating one that may have a negative effect on romantic relationships.

Eye problems have also been associated with using birth control. Blurred vision and issues focusing can be caused by the manipulation of hormone levels. This can make completing daily tasks much more challenging and cause some painful headaches from the eye strain. Fortunately, this side effect is usually not permanent. Eye sight may return to normal once the hormones are returned to their natural levels. If experiencing eye problems while on birth control, ceasing to take the medication and talking to a doctor may clear up the issue.

Unlike the lack of a sex drive and temporary eye problems, there are other side effects that can be life threatening. Developing blood clots has been strongly linked to birth control. Although many women may experience blood clots at some point, the risk is tripled by taking birth control. When combined with high blood pressure, diabetes, or smoking, the risk jumps even higher. Strokes and embolisms can result from blood clots (also known as thrombosis) and both are potentially fatal.

The risk for gallbladder disease also rises when taking birth control. Estrogen causes the concentration of cholesterol in bile to rise and this may lead to the formation gallstones. Although rarely life-threatening, this can be very painful and cause problems when eating. In extreme cases, the removal of the gallbladder may be required.

A known long-term side effect of taking birth control is heart disease. Women who have taken birth control for five years or longer are at an increased risk. Long-term usage of birth control has been linked to damage of the heart muscle. Heart attacks have been known to occur, even with younger women, when taking birth control. The longer a woman stays on the birth control, the greater the risk becomes.

When it comes to breast cancer, the link to taking birth control is undecided. Studies have varied on the subject. Researchers in Scandinavia observed that in groups of women, those who took birth control in the past or present had a greater occurrence of breast cancer than those who had never taken birth control. However, Women’s CARE group conducted a study in the mid-1990s that showed no link between birth control and breast cancer. Even though it is undecided whether birth control and breast cancer are linked, it may be too great of a risk to take if there’s even a small possibility that this form on contraceptive can lead to a notoriously deadly form of cancer.

Birth control is but one of many types of contraceptives. There are others that don’t carry the same amount of health risks and are just as effective. Considering the possibly dangerous side effects of birth control, it may be wise to speak to a doctor about alternative methods for both preventing unwanted pregnancy and regulating menstrual cycles.

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