5 Unexpected Benefits of Going on Birth Control Pills
The pill is most commonly used to prevent pregnancy, of course, but while the birth control method isn't for everyone — there are always potential side effects — there are some side benefits that might make you want to choose this method above others, even if you're not having sex.
Many studies have been done around birth control pills' beneficial effects on everything from skin health to cancer prevention, so we consulted an expert to examine the known health pros of taking the pill. Know that this guide is just a starting point — you should consult a doctor to find the right option for your health.
It Could Lower Your Risk of Osteoporosis
Taking birth control could help with building bone density and the prevention of osteoporosis. "Some studies have shown that combined oral contraceptive pills may increase bone density due to the protective effect of estrogen, but there are considerable concerns about starting combined oral contraceptive pills in the teen years before peak bone mass is reached," says Jennifer Landa, MD, a gynecologist and chief medical officer at BodyLogicMD in Maitland, Florida. If you're concerned about bone loss, talk to your doctor to see if the pill might be helpful for you.
It Can Make Your Periods Lighter
"Some birth control pills may make you bleed less and for fewer days," says Dr. Landa. That's due to the progestin hormone them, which can thin the lining of the uterus, causing periods to be lighter. "This is, of course, beneficial to women who have very heavy periods," the doctor said, since heavy bleeding can cause anemia or a low blood cell count, which can lead to more serious health issues.
It Can Reduce Cramps
Birth control pills can get rid of those painful cramps and muscle spasms you get while on your period. "They will frequently lessen the cramping that women have with their menses," Dr. Landa said. "The main reason for this is that cramping occurs when the uterus contracts to try to expel the blood clots and tissue that are expelled with menses." Because bleeding is usually lighter with the birth control pill due to a decrease in the build-up of uterine lining, there is less uterine contraction needed, which can provide relief.
It Regulates Your Cycle
If your cycle is wacky, birth control may help. "Some women prefer to be on birth control pills to regulate their cycle. The pill almost always produces a uniform 28-day cycle, which is very convenient when it comes to predicting when you'll be bleeding," says Dr. Landa.