Reasons why some stop oral birth control

Oral contraceptives, or the pill, are the most widely-used type of birth control in the U.S., and the third- most popular worldwide. With that kind of scope, it’s easy to feel like it should work for you, too, but no kind of contraceptive is one-size-fits-all, and there are plenty of totally legitimate reasons to rethink using the pill if you feel like it might not be the one for you.

  • Depression: Because the pill is a hormonal birth control, a certain amount of hormonal change when you’re on it isn’t exactly a surprise. But women with personal or family histories of depression may get more than they bargained for, since the hormones from the pill can affect the neurotransmitters in the brain and trigger depression.
  • Painful intercourse: Though it hasn’t been proved that the pill definitely causes it, a 2013 study by Dr. Nirit Rosenblum draws a strong connection between painful intercourse, general pelvic pain, and the low-dose version of the pill that is commonly prescribed. More study is needed, and if you’re experiencing pelvic pain, it’s definitely time to check in with your healthcare provider, but since intercourse is the reason most people are on the pill, it might be a sign that it’s time to switch birth control. After all, it’s not supposed to control birth by making you not want to have sex.
  • Yeast infections: Alright, so they may not seem like a huge deal, and maybe they aren’t …the first few times. Yeast infections triggered by the pill can generally be treated with over-the-counter or prescription medications, but women who are unlucky enough to get them frequently on the pill may prefer to just look into switching to a different birth control method.
  • You keep forgetting it: Sure, it would be great if you remembered, but trying to force yourself to if you’re having trouble getting into the rhythm of it can make your birth control much less effective. In general, the pill has around a 9% rate of ineffectiveness – that is, about 9% of women on the pill end up getting pregnant – but if it’s taken completely the way it’s supposed to be, that rate goes down to 1%. You’re not alone, and plenty of people have trouble remembering to take it at the same time every day, but knowing you’ve got company isn’t enough of a reason not to switch to a type of birth control that might fit better with your lifestyle if that’s what you want to do.

  • “Medical Uses of the Birth Control Pill.” YoungWomensHealth. Center for Young Women’s Health, Jun 2 2016. Web.
  • “Birth Control Pills.” PlannedParenthood. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., 2017. Web.
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