To me, menstruation has always been symbolic of what it means to be a woman. However, when women take birth control pills, whether to prevent pregnancy or to regulate their periods, they no longer menstruate in the truest sense. The monthly flows of blood from birth control pills don’t follow the natural course but are instead manipulated by synthetic estrogen and progestin hormones.
This got me thinking, so I recently ran a poll at CycleHarmony.com asking women about their birth control methods. The results stunned me.
Per our poll, which had a significant sample size, 93% of women are on a form of birth control pill – a whopping 759 out of the 815 people who participated in the poll – an overwhelming majority no matter how you look at it.
Here’s the breakdown of various birth control methods, per our poll.
- 93% taking a form of birth control pill
- 3% using no birth control at all
- About 2% using condoms
- About 2% using other methods such as IUD, fertility awareness-based methods and a combination of methods
The birth control pill, formally a hormonal contraceptive, is no doubt one of the most effective methods for birth control. But there are side effects, which range from mildly annoying to what amount to serious health concerns. The most common side effects include:
- Headache, dizziness
- Breast tenderness
- Decreased libido
- Mood swings
Some studies have also reported an increase in the risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer from using hormonal contraceptives. But other studies contradict this finding.
Given the magnitude of the number of women on the pill, and given the varying degrees of side effects, I can’t help but wonder, “Do the benefits outweigh the costs?”
The answers to this question may help bring to light the hidden costs of our choices. It may also help uncover other viable alternatives for both birth control and healthier menstrual cycles.
Please share your experience.