FYI: Birth Control is For More Than Just Preventing Pregnancy, Okay?

MotherMag

Think birth control is just for sex? Think again.

Have you ever heard a man make the argument that the government shouldn't have to pay for women's birth control just like the government shouldn't have to pay for men's condoms? Yeah pal, it doesn't really work like that.

You see, the first time I ever went on birth control was FAR before I ever even started having sex. In fact, it had nothing to do with sex. I was in 8th grade. I had recently got my period and oh boy, it was painful. They were supppper heavy, and I was having horrible cramps. They were so bad I was actually missing days of school.

My mom took me to the doctor, who sent me to the gynecologist for the very first time. And after an examination, I found out that I had ovarian cysts. My doctor prescribed me birth control and soon my symptoms alleviated and my menstrual cycle became manageable.

Definitely not enjoyable, not pain free, but... manageable.

So, that's the thing. Sure, birth control can be, well, birth control. But it's also hormones. It's medicine. There's a million reasons why women use it.

Here are some of them:

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polycystic ovary syndrome

One Buzzfeed reader explains, “I use it to control my PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), which includes extremely irregular periods, serious acne, weight gain, and cramps that used to put me out of commission to where I was in so much pain I could barely move/eat/drink. Going on birth control has been the best decision I’ve ever made and it allows me to live a normal life again. I’m sure other women with PCOS can relate as well.”

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menopause

While birth control is typically associated with those who are still menstruating, it can be used for menopausal women as well, as "It helps keep your hormone levels balanced and controls some menopause symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and irregular bleeding,"

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menstrual migraines

According to SELF, "these extreme headaches are often brought on by a rapid drop in estrogen, and some pills stop or minimize the hormonal fluctuations."

Men- have you ever had a migraine? Imagine getting them for a few days every single month for almost your entireeeeee lifeeee. Well, birth control can help.

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endometriosis

According to Prevention, "with this painful condition, tissue that normally grows inside the uterus (and sheds during your period) also grows outside of it, commonly on the ovaries, bowel, and bladder. This excess tissue causes swelling, inflammation, and scarring, which leads to extreme pain. The Pill will decrease the severity of monthly menstrual symptoms...which means that there will be less monthly uterine buildup, less shedding, and, for those with endometriosis, even less migration and growth of uterine tissue throughout the body. Which all adds up to less pain."

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cramps

According to Self Magazine, birth control pills stop your ovaries from ovulating (i.e. releasing eggs) each month. The uterus doesn't get the signal to release chemicals that cause period cramps, so some women on the Pill will experience less painful periods.

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for acne

According to Prevention.com, "When you're on birth control pills, your liver makes a protein that prohibits testosterone from floating around in your bloodstream, lowering acne and unwanted hair growth."

So for some women who have chronic acne that can't be cured, birth control might be a good option.

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for mental health

One reader told Buzzfeed, "Birth control helps me manage my bipolar disorder: My moods are much more stable without hormonal fluctuations. It’s also a personal choice that lets me live my life to the fullest without mental health challenges, extremely painful and heavy periods, or the fear of an unwanted pregnancy. Clearer skin is a handy side benefit too!”

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