Everyone knows that there are plenty of side effects to hormonal birth control. It comes as no surprise that many women have questions about how effective it is and what to expect. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about birth control.
Is it true that hormonal birth control causes me to gain weight?
For most people, most kinds of birth control, including hormonal birth control, are very unlikely to cause weight gain. “In large pool studies, we don’t see increases in weight in comparison to what you would naturally gain from the slowing of the metabolism and aging.” Jen Kaiser, MD, a family planning assistant professor at the University of Utah, states. Hormone fluctuations can cause bloating and water retention (you may be familiar with these uncomfortable symptoms during PMS or during your period) and many people interpret this as weight gain. If you still feel like you’ve started carrying a bit of extra weight since you started birth control, talk to your doctor about trying a different pill or a different method of pregnancy prevention—contraception should work for you, not against you.
Is there only one day a month where I can get pregnant?
This is actually a common misconception. Though your body only releases an egg once a month, there are several days in which you can get pregnant. The average fertility window is about 5 to 7 days so, there's about a week-long window where you can get pregnant each month.
Is it okay for me to have sex without a condom on the first day of hormonal birth control?
If you don't want to get pregnant, it’s best to continue using a condom until your birth control fully kicks in. Depending on what type of birth control you use, it can take about a week for your birth control to take full effect. It's best to use a condom for at least a week after going on the pill, or any other birth control method. Remember, birth control pills do not protect against STIs so to continue protecting yourself from STIs and HIV, you’ll want to continue using condoms.
Is hormonal birth control linked to infertility?
It is a myth that years of taking birth control will affect your fertility. These contraceptive methods only have an effect on fertility while they are being used. “No forms of birth control decrease your ability of getting pregnant when you discontinue use, no matter how long you use birth control. Your ability to get pregnant goes back to whatever it was before birth control. That means if you had a high chance of getting pregnant, you still will. If you had a low chance, it goes back to being a low chance,” states Dr. Kaiser.
Is it necessary for me to take my birth control tablet at the same time each day?
It would be in your best interest to do so, though how important the stakes are depend on what type of birth control you're taking. If you are taking combination oral contraceptive (a pill that includes a form of estrogen and a form or progesterone) birth control there is far more room for error. A progesterone-only pill must be taken at the exact same time every day for it to be fully effective. Aim for the same time of day but don’t panic if you are an hour or two off.
If you have any questions, it's always appropriate to ask your doctor. At Wisp we sell birth control at an affordable price, and it's very easy to connect with our medical team and get a birth control pills order online.
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