The Pill, Beyond Birth Control

In a country as conservative as the Philippines, birth control pills -- most birth control methods, other than abstinence or natural family planning, for that matter -- have had quite the reputation. Publicly scorned by the Church (and in some cases, the government), birth control pills are not only difficult to obtain but are also quite heavy on the wallet. But is there more to “the pill” than its controversial status?

Birth control pills essentially contain female hormones, estrogen and progestin, which are produced by the ovaries. These pills are commonly taken to prevent getting pregnant, though scientifically it has been proven that they have a long-running list of other effects that have aided the menstruating populace through a plague of many woes.

Here are 8 ways birth control pills have helped humankind in recent history:
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Birth control pills have been commonly prescribed to people with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS causes a hormonal imbalance where higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones are produced by the body. True to its name, a person with PCOS has cysts in their ovaries, which often leads to irregular menstrual periods, acne, dysmenorrhea, and excessive hair growth. Based on research, up to 70% of people with PCOS are apparently unaware of their condition. Birth control pills help in regulating these hormones, which in turn can naturalize irregular periods, manage acne, and limit hair growth.
Lack of Periods
  • People who suffer from irregularity of their periods due to being underweight or excessive stress can take birth control to refurnish the low supply of estrogen in the body, thus regulating the menstrual cycle. A fact not known to many is that when the body is malnourished, the ovaries cease to menstruate, since they know they would be unable to handle nourishing a baby.
Suppression of Periods
  • Some people in the transgender or non-binary community are triggered by gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is a condition described by the National Health Services of the UK as when a person "experiences discomfort or distress because there's a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity." In those cases, periods can be a pain to deal with. Birth control pills can be taken to cease their menstruation and to lessen feelings of dysphoria.
Menstrual Cramps and Premenstrual Syndrome
  • When painkillers fail to work, birth control pills may ease cramps and even prevent Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). A familiar feeling for many who menstruate, the toils of PMS include back pain, soreness, mood swings, bloating, and weight gain. Birth control pills regulate hormones, thus easing the exhausting inconvenience of that time of the month.
Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI)
  • Some people do not produce enough estrogen due to radiation, chemotherapy or genetic conditions (such as Turner Syndrome). Jampacked with hormones, the birth control pill can supplement this lack of hormones for those suffering from POI.
Endometriosis
  • Those diagnosed with endometriosis experience cramps or pelvic pain during their period. Birth control has been used to treat this condition by alleviating pain and temporarily stopping periods.
Acne
  • People suffering from cystic or severe acne can lighten the situation by controlling their hormones, which can clear up the skin. This process, however, must be consulted with a dermatologist.
Bonus benefits
  • Some people with anemia take birth control pills, as it lightens bleeding.
  • Birth control pills can also lower your chance of getting endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, and ovarian cysts.

 

For people who menstruate, the pill has proven to be a miracle of modern science that goes beyond its contraceptive use. Birth control pills go as far as not just regulating the body, but keeping it healthy and strong. Birth control pills have provided a true service to all of humanity.

 

Contributed by Luisa Jocson