8 Contraception Myths Debunked

There have been many myths surrounding contraception, many that are widely circulated. UR.Life sets the record straight by dispelling 8 common contraceptive myths that can impact your fertility and sexual health.

By URLife Team
26 Sep 2023

"I discontinued the birth control pill after a two-year as I was feeling moody." "I have chosen not to use birth control pills as they may reduce the chances of conceiving in the future." These are just a few widely held beliefs surrounding one of the most commonly used birth control methods. But how accurate are these beliefs? As is the case with early sex education, a significant portion of the information available about the contraceptive pill is either inaccurate or incomplete.


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Myths often circulate in various aspects of sexual health, and one such area is birth control, where you may come across misleading information. These myths can be memorialised by well-intentioned family members or found online. Hence, it is imperative to have a clear understanding of the facts that not only empower you to make informed decisions about family planning, but also help safeguard your fertility and well-being.


While it is undeniable that every woman's experience with the pill can vary, this variability is precisely why we should refrain from assuming that some of the so-called 'facts' are accurate.


Let’s find out some unsettling contraception myths and debunk them.


Related story: Are You Using Birth Control Correctly


Myth 1: The morning-after pill is only effective the morning after sex.

As per a 2023 study by Cleveland Clinic, emergency contraception pills are effective for up to 5 days after having sex. The morning-after pill does not reverse a pregnancy; instead, it works by preventing pregnancy through the inhibition of ovulation. Ovulation is a natural part of the reproductive cycle in which the ovaries release an egg that can potentially be fertilised by sperm, initiating the process of foetal development. If ovulation is inhibited, it becomes impossible to conceive and become pregnant during that specific reproductive cycle.


Myth 2 : Birth control pills can reduce fertility

Contraceptives operate by interrupting ovulation during the middle of the menstrual cycle and suppressing the natural secretion of hormones. The menstruation you experience while on the pill is essentially induced, as the ovaries are in a suppressed or inactive state. The pill itself does not permanently stop reproductive ability. If a woman encounters difficulties in becoming pregnant after discontinuing contraceptive use, it is advisable to explore other potential factors rather than attributing the issue solely to the pill. Other underlying factors should be considered in the evaluation of fertility concerns.


Related Post: Are You Using Birth Control Correctly?


Myth 3. Contraception prevents sexually transmitted diseases

Birth control methods are highly effective at preventing pregnancy, but it's important to note that they do not provide protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). To reduce the risk of transmitting certain STIs, barrier methods such as condoms can be used.


If left untreated, STIs have the potential to cause harm to various parts of the body and can disrupt normal bodily functions. When an STI progresses to a point where it causes specific symptoms or complications, it is typically referred to as a sexually transmitted disease (STD).


Myth 4: Birth control pills curing PCOS

A common misconception is that birth control pills can cause Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). However, this misunderstanding often stems from a phenomenon known as Post-Birth Control Syndrome. When women discontinue the use of birth control pills, they may experience a range of symptoms, including changes in menstrual patterns, acne, hair thinning or loss, significant weight gain, and potential fertility issues.


Typically, gynaecologists prescribe birth control pills to manage existing symptoms of PCOS.hormonal contraceptives can help reduce the production of androgens in the female body and mitigate the metabolic disorders associated with PCOS.


Myth 5. Women the Pills can get cancer

A 2022 cohort study  by The American College of Obstetrician And Gynaecologists analysing the risk of invasive breast cancer in women who used hormonal contraception found that hormonal contraception decreased risk of ovarian, endometrial, and colon cancer. Besides, contraceptive implants and injectables had no observed increased risk of breast cancer.


Related Post: This or That: Barrier or Chemical Birth Control To Prevent Unwanted Pregnancy


Myth 6: Women after 45 do not need birth control pills

Unless you’re trying to get pregnant, chances are you still need to use some method of birth control in your 40s and 50s. 75 per cent of pregnancies in women over 40 are unplanned.


You can consider yourself fully in menopause when you have not had a period for a continuous period of 12 months. This means no menstruation at all, without any occasional bleeding. It's important to note that irregular periods are common as you approach menopause. Therefore, even if you rarely have a period, there is still a chance of pregnancy if you do not use birth control during this transitional phase.


Myth 7: Contraceptive pills can cause abortions

A 2022 study by the British Medical Journal reveals that taking a morning-after pill is not the same as having an abortion. An abortion is a medical procedure performed to terminate an established pregnancy, whereas emergency contraception, often referred to as the morning-after pill, is intended to prevent pregnancy from occurring in the first place. Pills are not considered abortifacients, as they do not interrupt an existing pregnancy. 


Myth 8: Contraception like IUDs, injectable and implants can make it hard to get pregnant later

Progestic UIDs can last for 3-6 years. Implants and injectables last 3 months. However, their impact wears off, and the woman will resume her menstruation cycle. 


It's important to discuss your contraceptive choices and concerns with a healthcare provider. They can help you choose the method that aligns with your family planning goals. If you're considering getting pregnant in the near future, you may opt for methods like condoms or non-hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs) that do not have a significant impact on fertility once discontinued. Individual responses to contraceptives can vary, so it's essential to have a personalised conversation with a healthcare professional to make informed decisions about your reproductive health.


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