Wednesday, June 5, 2013

12 Facts About Birth Control That You Should Know

Oh. My. Goodness.

I had no idea how much I didn't know about birth control!  I've just made my decision on Monday, and I just stopped having bad dreams about birth control on Monday.  Now today I want to get all of my research out into the open so maybe the next girl will find it and get the information quicker.  Because gosh darn it, it was So Dang Hard to find all of this information!  I spent days hunting and gleaning and organizing, and I want my hard work to be used as much as possible, so I'm spreading it!

12 Facts about birth control that you should know | Lindsay Eryn

12 FACTS (that I didn't know):
  1. There are more birth control options than just The Pill.
  2. All hormonal birth control methods and the copper IUD, Paragard, have the potential to be abortifacient because none of them prevent conception 100% and all of them affect the uterine lining.  (This is the one fact I found absent the most often in my person-to-person research, even with one of my gynecologists.)
  3. There are 2 kinds of hormones used in birth control.  Estrogen and Progestin.
  4. There are more severe risks associated with pills that use estrogen.  Those pills are called Combination Oral Contraceptive Pills, COCPs.  Some women can only take Progestin Only Pills, POPs for short.
  5. Hormonal birth controls work to prevent conception in 4 ways. (Few do not prevent ovulation, but all will affect the cervical mucus and the uterine lining.) (Source)
    • preventing ovulation (How)
    • thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering the uterus
    • thinning the endometrium (the uterine lining)
    • changing the motion of the Fallopian tubes (I still don't understand this one very well.)
  6. The bleeding women have while on birth control is NOT a period!  It is called withdrawal bleeding.  Also, this "fake period" is not necessary for gynecological health and, therefore, the extended cycle pills do not put added stress on your body. (More information on the how and why and Is It Safe?)
  7. There is a POP with an astoundingly high ovulation prevention rate of 97-99% (an uncommon trait of POPs) called Cerazette.  It also allows the user a 12 hour window to take the pill on time, as opposed to the typical 3 hour window.  It is not approved by the FDA due to the associated increased risk of blood clots, but Cerazette is available in the UK, Canada, and elsewhere.
  8. Oral pills can maintain the same dosage of hormones through the monthly cycle or can change the dosage twice, thrice, or even four times.  These different pills are called monophasic, biphasic, triphasic, and quadraphasic pills.
  9. Oral pills increase the risk of breast and cervical cancer, but reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. (More information on the relationship between oral pills and different cancers)
  10. There is no "perfect pill" for everyone because every body's makeup is a little different.  One may have to try a few different pills before finding one that doesn't give them adverse side effects.
  11. There are a lot more options for conducting natural family planning out there than I thought.  Here are few ways Fertility Awareness can be achieved:
    • The ovulation charting method
    • Checking body temperature
    • Checking cervical mucus
    • The 2-day method
    • The standard day method (depends on a consistent cycle)
  12. There is a reversible form of birth control for males being researched in India that hopes to be on the market in 2015.  Vasalgel is a gel injected into the vas deferens that solidifies to block and kill sperm on their way to the outside world.  It can be reversed by another injection that dissolves the gel. (More on other male birth control methods)
 Now, here are spreadsheets I compiled with information on POPs and other birth control methods.  These charts are not filled completely, but most of the blank spots indicate either an inability to find the information.  I originally made these charts to help me find a birth control method that was best for me, and I focused on options that were relevant interests and needs, but since sharing them here I have worked to make them as comprehensive as I can.  (Please feel free to comment or contact me with additional information.)
Birth Control Comparison spreadsheet
Each chart includes the hormones used, notable risks, and other useful information.
My opinion on all this, not on birth control, but on the information available:
While digging around and interacting with my gynecologists, I found that the majority of women on birth control are ignorant on so many important things.  People should be trusted to make their own decisions, but they should make them informed.  While talking with girlfriends, I've heard myths spoken as truth, incredulity at the newer methods I was describing, and flat out ignorance and belief in what was told to them.  I... I just don't understand it.  With so many things at risk, whether you agree that life begins at conception or not, there is so much that women should know about before making their birth control decision.

P.s. I wrote a little about my personal decision here
Additional information I found useful in my hunt:
Highly informative philosophy + informational research paper regarding the different forms of birth control and natural family planning from a Christian worldview by my friend Amber (which would be helpful to anyone wanting an overview on the pros/cons of different birth control forms)
Birth control SIDE EFFECT comparison site
(based on patient information and includes non-pill forms)

Image by Bryancalabro under CC, via Wikipedia, altered by myself


  1. YES! That's the biggest thing I've run into as well--so many people don't really understand birth control (hormonal or physical) and what the different options within those categories are. It always makes me a bit cautious as I think this is information EVERY one should know (not just women) but it's not something you can just up and "Hey! Why did you choose THAT birth control? Did you know about ____________ and _________ and ___________?" It always makes me glad when someone does their research on this because it's such an important thing--whether because of someone's beliefs on life and conception or because the wrong birth control can really mess you up physically. Thanks for taking the time to post your findings.

    1. Glad to help! And I'm really glad to not be alone. I think everyone should know about this, too. It shouldn't be taboo, and it makes me frustrated that some guys respond to talk about birth control as if it's a big deal or as if it's yucky or something.

  2. thank you so much!! i'm a spreadsheet junkie and these are beyond helpful to me! thanks for sharing!

    1. Absolutely! You're welcome!

      I've realized that if all of my papers in school were to be turned in as a spreadsheet, I'm pretty sure I would have aced them all. :)


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