Is hormonal birth control safe?


Fact Box

  • The first oral contraceptive, or hormonal birth control pill, was called Enovid and was approved by the FDA in 1960. The ‘pill,’ as it’s commonly called, works by “suppressing ovulation so that no egg is released by the ovaries for fertilization by sperm.” 
  • Statista reports that from 2017 to 2019, about 65% of American women were using some kind of contraception, with hormonal birth control being the contraception of choice for those aged 15-29.
  • Fortune Business Insights states that the “global contraceptive pills market size” will reach $20.55 billion by 2026.
  • A 2022 Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 77% of women ages 18-49 “favor making birth control pills available without a doctor’s prescription if research shows they are safe and effective.”

Elisa (No)

While women commonly use hormonal birth control, many ignore the many side effects that come along with taking it, such as weight gain or even blood clotting. Hormonal birth control is not as harmless as the medical industry paints it, and it can lead to severe adverse outcomes. For example, many women are unaware that it can cause breast cancer

It isn't just the body that these birth control methods affect--there are also psychological consequences for women. A recent study by the University of Copenhagen revealed that depression is directly correlated with any type of hormonal contraceptive and can contribute to mood swings. Further, birth control may be unsafe while breastfeeding, with the corresponding data and studies being limited or misleading. 

One major problem is that doctors push many women to take birth control, often ignoring their patients' individual health needs and natural options. On top of this, many do not question where they are getting their information. For example, millions of women get birth control advice from TikTok, which can be dangerous. 

Many women are unaware of alternatives to hormonal birth control, such as natural cycle tracking and condoms. There are a variety of reliable natural methods that women can investigate that do not disrupt a woman's health. 

Lastly, there are other dangers of hormonal contraceptives that are not so obvious--increased promiscuity, illegitimate births, and one could argue, even degradation of family. In other words, there is a moral and ethical danger in using these birth control methods that many women do not consider. Besides, many women have realized that birth control ultimately benefits men--not women.

Chad (Yes)

In most cases, hormonal birth control pills are safe for biological women. The FDA approved the first birth control pill all the way back in 1960, so both the long and short-term effects have been thoroughly evaluated and observed. 

Hormonal birth control, or the 'pill,' is safe for most women, with the majority of side effects being minor and transient (headaches, hypertension, vein thrombosis, etc.) While about 4-5% of women may experience hypertension, this generally is only serious if they have other existing cardiovascular issues. 

Most other side effects are initially associated with adjusting to the pill and will subside after a few cycles. In other cases, women may have to try different types of pills before finding the one that works best for their unique physiology. 

The main side effect of concern is cervical cancer. Studies have shown that the pill increases the risk of cervical cancer, nearly doubling after ten years of use (while simultaneously decreasing the risk of some other cancers). However, this link has not clearly been shown, as other factors may be involved. Either way, cancer risk increases with age and comorbidities such as smoking tobacco. Older women and those who smoke should take extra precautions and be evaluated regularly by a doctor. 

There are multiple forms of birth control available today. What works well for one person may not be ideal for another. All women should be evaluated by their doctor, aware of the options available, and understand the risks and benefits before deciding.

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