Busting Birth Control Myths


Busting Birth Control Myths

May 8, 2024
A pile of birth control pill packs on a desk.

From misconceptions about its effectiveness to unfounded fears regarding its safety, myths about birth control persist, particularly when someone is getting their information online. In fact, a story about people choosing to get off birth control because of myths they’ve seen on social media recently made headlines. Debunking these myths is not just a matter of correcting misinformation; it is crucial for empowering individuals to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health. 

In honor of Talking Is Power Month, let’s explore some myths about contraception that the young people in your life may have seen online. 

Myth #1. Birth Control Makes You Infertile: There is no evidence to support the claim that using birth control leads to infertility. In fact, many people are able to conceive shortly after discontinuing contraceptive use. Birth control methods like the pill, patch, and IUD are designed to prevent pregnancy temporarily and do not have long-term effects on fertility.

Myth #2: Birth Control Causes Cancer: The truth is that some forms of birth control, such as oral contraceptives, have actually been shown to decrease the risk of certain types of cancer, such as ovarian, uterine, and colon cancer. While hormonal birth control may cause a small increased risk in breast cancer, the overall risk of breast cancer in hormonal birth control users remains low. 

Myth #3: Birth Control Causes Dangerous Hormonal Imbalances: There is a common misconception that using hormonal birth control methods, such as the pill or hormonal IUD, can permanently disrupt hormone levels and lead to long-term imbalances. However, hormonal contraceptives are designed to mimic the body's natural hormone fluctuations and typically do not cause permanent changes to hormone levels. After discontinuing hormonal birth control, most individuals return to their normal hormonal patterns within a few menstrual cycles.

Myth #4: Birth Control Causes Depression: Many of the recent studies that suggest that birth control causes depression have flawed designs that limit the generalizability of their conclusions. The truth is that most people report no change in mood after starting hormonal contraception. That being said, different methods can impact people differently! What’s most important is finding the method that works best for an individual’s body. 

Myth #5: Birth Control Is 100% Effective: While birth control methods are highly effective when used correctly and consistently, no method is 100% foolproof. For example, the pill must be taken at the same time every day to maintain its effectiveness, and condoms can break or slip off during sex. Understanding the effectiveness rates of different methods and using them as directed can help minimize the risk of unplanned pregnancy.