Ive Been Thinking About Going On The Pill To Help With The Cramps
If youre already on birth control, you probably already know how fuss-free and effective it is in preventing pregnancy. But what about its other non-contraceptive benefits?
Hormonal birth control is one treatment method used to ease menstrual cramps. Primarily, oral birth control pills contain hormones such as estrogen and progestin which deter ovulation and the production of prostaglandins, thus lowering the severity of period pain.
A randomised controlled trial conducted in 2012 revealed the effectiveness of taking combination birth control pills cyclically and those taken continually. The latter involves the continuous administration of active pills during all 28 days, without any placebo at all. As continuous OCP means that users only take the hormone pills and skip the inactive pills, they forgo the monthly bleeding altogether. Both methods were successful in treating primary dysmenorrhea.
Alternatively, other birth control methods such as patches, the ring, intrauterine devices and implants are also able to alleviate cramps, and even cause periods to become lighter and more predictable.
By using these prescribed birth control methods, you can also safely skip your periods altogether. To postpone or skip your period, you should immediately start on a new pack of active pills right away without taking the sugar pills .
Its best to speak with a doctor before trying any new birth control methods or making major adjustments.
Using Pain Relievers For Period Cramps
One safe, quick option to get rid of or soothe period cramps is over the counter pain relief such as ibuprofen .
Various clinical studies have shown that ibuprofen can be a super effective and fast way to eliminate cramps. Ibuprofen has also been shown to be more effective for period cramps than pain relievers with the ingredient acetaminophen . The National Institutes of Health says Aspirin or Ibuprofen are usually adequate to reduce menstrual pain.
Doctors say its ideal to start taking pain relievers slightly in advance of the cramps.* If the timing doesnt work out and you cant plan ahead, doctors say that pain relievers work best when taken at the first sign of pain from your periods.
*Note: Before you take any new medication, read the directions, and take as directed. We recommend you speak with your nurse or doctor if youre currently on other medicines, have a health condition, or are not sure if this medication is safe for you.
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How The Pill Works On Symptoms
Because the pill delivers everything in steady doses, it can make your hormone levels more predictable and your period symptoms less unpleasant.
Taking the birth control pill can get rid of many unpleasant symptoms, including:
Irregular periods. Many women donât have regular cycles. If you arenât producing enough progesterone, for example, your cycle could be a few days longer. With the pill, thereâs no more guessing when your period might start. Itâll be the same day every month.
Heavy periods. The progesterone in the pill thins out the uterine lining, making your periods lighter.
Cramps. This is the most common menstrual symptom. Cramps are caused by too much of the hormone prostaglandin, which makes the uterus contract. The pill can get rid of this issue.
Endometriosis. The birth control pills help control estrogen, which causes the buildup of endometrial tissue each month. Itâs the pillâs exact dose of progesterone that helps reduce or even eliminate endometriosis, and the pain that comes with it.
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When To See A Doctor
If your mood swings are mild or moderate, exercise, healthier eating, relaxation, and other lifestyle changes may bring you relief. See your doctor if you feel depressed, feel no energy, or have other severe symptoms that interfere with your daily life.
American Family Physician: âDo the emotional side-effects of hormonal contraceptives come from pharmacologic or psychological mechanisms?â âManaging Adverse Effects of Hormonal Contraceptives.â
Medical Hypotheses: âDo the emotional side-effects of hormonal contraceptives come from pharmacologic or psychological mechanisms?â
Mayo Clinic: âCombination Birth Control Pills.â
Contraception: âThe relationship between progestin hormonal contraception and depression: a systematic review.â
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: âDo Progestin-Only Contraceptives Contribute to the Risk of Developing Depression as Implied by Beta-Arrestin 1 Levels in Leukocytes? A Pilot Study.â
American Society for Reproductive Medicine: âHormonal Contraception.â
Womenshealth.gov: âWhat happens during the typical 28-day menstrual cycle?â âPremenstrual syndrome ,â âPremenstrual dysphoric disorder .â
UpToDate: âPatient education: Premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder .â
JAMA Psychiatry: âAssociation of Hormonal Contraception With Depression.â
CDC: âNational Health Statistics Reports: Contraceptive Methods Women Have Ever Used: United States, 1982-2010.â
So What Birth Control Should You Use If You Have Acne
Though there are certain guidelines, you can follow the above when considering birth control and acne. If you struggle with acne, it’s recommended that you choose an option known to help balance acne-producing hormones or, at least, one that is known to have little or no effect on acne. This category includes various options, from hormonal pills to vaginal implants, patches, and others. Before consulting with your OB/GYN, read through the above, and create a list of questions and concerns to help you both identify the best birth control choice for you! As always, monitor any symptoms or side effects and discuss them with your provider. Sometimes it takes trying a couple different birth control options to find a good fit.More info:
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Birth Control Pills: Medical Uses
- Besides birth control, there are many medical benefits of birth control pills , the Pill, or hormonal pills).
- Before starting birth control pills, talk to your health care provider about side effects, risks and benefits of the Pill.
- Birth control pills can help irregular periods, PCOS, endometriosis, acne, menstrual cramps, and low estrogen conditions.
Adolescent girls and young women are often prescribed birth control pills for irregular or absent menstrual periods, menstrual cramps, acne, PMS, endometriosis, Primary Ovarian Insufficiency and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome . Girls who are diagnosed with PCOS are often prescribed oral contraceptives to lower their hormone levels and regulate their menstrual periods.
Birth control pills contain one or two types of synthetic female hormones, estrogen and/or progestin. Similar hormones are normally made by the ovaries. There are many different types of oral contraceptive pills.
What If My Period Is Very Light While Im Taking Birth Control Pills
Your period may be so light when you are taking birth control pills that you may have only a brown smudge on a tampon, pad, panty shield or underwear. The hormone doses in birth control pills are very low. This means that the lining of your uterus doesnt become very thick so very little blood needs to come out each month.
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What Is Brain Fog
Brain fog is different from memory changes that come with normal aging. Most people will experience forgetfulness and other cognitive changes as our bodies and brains change with age. These changes, much like normal aging, can come on gradually.
Brain fog, on the other hand, often happens suddenly with the beginning of perimenopause. Most women describe it as an increase in forgetfulness, whether forgetting someones name, why you walked into a room, or the password to your phone. Several studies have found that women during menopause score lower on tests for:
- Verbal learning
- Working memory
Brain fog may be to blame for these lower cognitive scores. With brain fog, you might notice it begins around the time of perimenopause and symptoms can continue into early menopause. The good news is that brain fog typically isnt permanent and most women notice the symptoms fade away after some time. However, they may still deal with frustrating symptoms for several years, much like other menopause symptoms such as hot flashes. Depending on your symptoms and overall health, our providers may recommend HRT to help with perimenopause and menopause.
Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance
To find out if your birth control pills are contributing to your symptoms, its important to get tested. However, simple standard blood tests will rarely detect this problem. A better option is a 24-hour urine hormone collection, which is the gold standard for looking at all the hormones and their metabolic byproducts. An integrative physician can be helpful in assessing hormone levels, nutrient deficiencies, and other issues related to hormonal birth control.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Birth Control Pills
Most women have no side effects when taking birth control pills, but some women do have irregular periods, nausea, headaches, or bloating. Each type of pill can affect each woman differently.
Spotting or Irregular Periods: Very light bleeding may occur during the first 3 weeks of taking the Pill and may continue for several cycles, but this is not serious. Irregular bleeding is common if you are late taking your pills or you miss a pill. If the bleeding is new and you are sexually active, get checked for Chlamydia infection. If the bleeding becomes heavier , call your health care provider.
Nausea: Sometimes a young woman can feel nauseated , but the feeling usually goes away if the pill is taken with food or with a bedtime snack. Sometimes a pill with less estrogen is prescribed if the nausea doesnt go away.
Headaches: Sometimes, young women may complain of headaches when they start taking birth control pills. Most often headaches happen because of stress or other reasons such as skipping meals, not enough sleep, sinus infections, or migraines. If your health care provider thinks your headaches are related to the Pill, he/she may prescribe a different pill with a lower amount of estrogen or may take you off of it completely and watch to see if headaches get better.
Breakouts: Usually the pill helps cure acne, but a few women feel they get acne from certain kinds of birth control pill.
Get The Most Out Of That Little Pill
Birth control pills have been around for decades, and they do a lot more than just prevent pregnancy. Millions of women use birth control pills to help manage painful period symptoms and other conditions. And with several formulas available, finding the right contraceptive for you is easier than ever.
Whether youre on the pill and wondering if a different one would be more effective, or this would be your first time, make an appointment with an OB-GYN or certified nurse-midwife to get help selecting the right pill for you.
OB-GYNs and midwives are experts in womens health making them experts in birth control, too. You can also make an appointment with a primary care doctor.
Ready to get on the pill? Were ready to help.
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The Pill Is Convenient
Taking the birth control pill is easy, but remembering to take it every day can be hard. Luckily, pill packs are small about the size of a cell phone so you can carry your pills with you wherever you go. You can use our birth control app to remind you to take your pills everyday.
The pill is birth control you dont have to think about during sex. If you take the pill correctly, youre protected from pregnancy all day, every day. Many people say the pill makes their sex lives better because they dont have to interrupt sex or worry about pregnancy.
You need a prescription from a nurse or doctor to get birth control pills. But you may be able to pick up many packs at once or have them mailed to you. Depending on where you live, you can even get birth control pills online.
How Do Birth Control Pills Prevent Pregnancy
The birth control pill works by stopping sperm from joining with an egg. When sperm joins with an egg its called fertilization.
The hormones in the pill safelystop ovulation. No ovulation means theres no egg for sperm to fertilize, so pregnancy cant happen.
The pills hormones also thicken the mucus on the cervix. This thicker cervical mucus blocks sperm so it cant swim to an egg kind of like a sticky security guard.
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How Do You Know If Your Birth Control Is Causing Your Headaches Or Migraines
If headaches or migraine attacks start or get worse when you start a new birth control method, after an increase in dosage, or improve after a reduction in dosage or stopping the birth control, its quite likely that birth control hormones are to blame.
Its normal to experience an increased frequency and severity of headaches when you first start birth control, but this often improves with time. However, any neurologic symptoms, such as aura symptoms, or severe or debilitating headaches, are not a normal birth control side effect, and you should notify your healthcare professional if you experience them.
Using The Pill To Treat Menopause
Are birth control pills the answer to soothing such perimenopausal symptoms as irregular periods and hot flashes? Find out why the Pill might or might not be right for you.
While the main reason to take birth control pills is to prevent pregnancy, it turns out that the Pill can also act as a treatment for women approaching menopause the time period called perimenopause to manage irregular periods, hot flashes, and night sweats.
As women age, the balance between the pituitary gland that excretes follicle stimulating hormone , and the ovary that excretes estrogen is all over the place, says Robert S. Wool, MD, an ob-gyn at Noble Hospital, Mercy Medical Center, and Baystate Medical Center and in private practice in Westfield and Springfield, Mass. Women may be making estrogen, but not usually cycling. Birth control pills will quiet the wildness of the reproductive cycle in a perimenopausal woman.
It is important to note that, once you reach true menopause, youll stop taking the Pill theres no longer the need to suppress ovaries once theyre no longer active. If youre still experiencing unpleasant symptoms, hormone replacement therapy, which uses smaller doses of hormones, might be an option, though youll want to discuss the risks with your doctor.
The Pill: Pros and Cons
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Is There Any Way My Daughter Can Lower Her Risk Of Getting Blood Clots While Taking The Pill
Make sure you let your daughter know if any of her blood relatives have had blood clots, especially when they were young . There are other factors that can contribute to the likelihood of whether a teen or adult woman develops blood clots such as a diagnosis of Factor V Leiden, trauma, or surgery, being overweight and smoking.
If your daughter smokes, encourage her to quit. If she is planning a flight or long car ride , remind her to get up and walk around and drink lots of fluids to lessen the risk of blood clots. If she is having surgery , talk to her health care provider about whether she should go off the Pill 3-4 weeks before the surgery.
Should I Avoid Certain Medications While Taking The Pill
You should always check with your healthcare provider before taking any new medications or herbal supplements. Certain drugs can make the pill less effective and increase your chances of getting pregnant. These products include:
- Antiseizure medications.
- Herbal supplements, such as St. Johns wort.
- Medications used to treat HIV.
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Sterilization When Approaching Menopause
Of course, sterilization is the most effective form of birth control. Although it doesnt have any of the symptom-smashing effects of the hormonal methods, it is a one-stop solution to unwanted pregnancy.
Its a relatively simple procedure for a man, indeed quicker and safer than it is for women, so if you are in a committed relationship with a special man, you could ask him to brave the snip.
If you want to be sterilized, speak to your doctor about the procedure. Usually, it involves surgery called tubal ligation . The surgeon cuts or clamps the fallopian tubes preventing eggs from traveling from the ovaries to the uterus.
However, some women realizing they are maybe only a year or two off being fully menopausal and therefore infertile choose to use more temporary measures to bridge the gap.
Whatever you decide you can revisit your choice of birth control, and once its been established that you are entirely through the menopause, you can forget the hassle of it once and for all.
When Should I See My Doctor About Irregular Bleeding
Since every womans body reacts differently to these birth control methods, it can be hard to know when irregular bleeding is abnormal. You should see your doctor if you experience abnormal bleeding:
- And are pregnant
- And have a lot of pain during your period
- After intercourse
- And you have been using the same method of birth control for more than three months
- That is unexpected
- And you are younger than 8 years old or have no other signs of puberty and have vaginal bleeding
You should also see your doctor if you are taking a combined contraceptive pill and your periods have stopped completely during the week of placebo pills, although in many cases this can be normal.
There are treatments available for irregular bleeding that can help, or your doctor may recommend changes to your birth control method.
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