According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2015 and 2017, 64.9% of women in the United States between the ages of 15 and 49 used contraception. After sterilization, the most commonly used contraceptive method was the oral contraceptive pill. While there are many different types, brands, and generic versions of the birth control pill, this medication (and other short-term hormonal methods like it) can be used for many more reasons than simply preventing pregnancy.
At The Center for Women’s Health in Newport News and Hampton, Virginia, we offer a number of treatment options for women’s health, one of which is the prescription of and counseling for the use of short-term hormonal birth control. Our top-notch medical staff — including Drs. Cheri L. Coyle, Douglas Thom, Katherine Hilsinger, Christine Dileo, John Fejes, and Branden A Deyerle — understands the many different uses for this treatment, and we want to help you learn the many ways it could potentially benefit you.
The lowdown on short-term hormonal birth control
While there are other forms of birth control — such as barrier methods like condoms — short-term hormonal birth control methods are some of the most commonly used. There are three types of short-term hormonal birth control, including:
- The pill: a prescription medication taken daily
- The patch: an external patch that is worn on the body and changed weekly
- The shot: a shot that is administered in a doctor’s office every three months
These methods all keep the body from ovulating in order to prevent pregnancy. They achieve this by affecting the hormones in the body so that the ovaries do not release eggs, which, in turn, keeps the eggs from being fertilized. But they can also all help with other issues.
Other uses for birth control
Whether you choose the pill, the patch, or the shot, all of these treatments can also treat other serious medical conditions.
Menorrhagia is the medical term for extremely heavy periods, during which you bleed more than normal. Birth control can help reduce the length of time you are bleeding, as well as the amount that you bleed.
This is the medical term for painful cramps that accompany PMS symptoms or periods. These cramps are often so painful that over-the-counter medications cannot treat them. Birth control can help by lightening the menstrual flow and minimizing the number of periods you experience.
Lack of period
In the same way short-term hormonal birth control methods can help with overly painful or heavy periods, they can help smooth out hormonal issues that may be preventing periods, which could be due to stress or low body weight.
Endometriosis is a condition that causes the uterine lining to grow outside the walls of the uterus. This condition causes extremely painful PMS and period symptoms. Birth control can help to minimize the periods experienced by a person with endometriosis, which can help control the pain.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
This condition causes cysts to form on the edges of the ovaries, as well as a number of uncomfortable symptoms such as acne and hair growth. The hormones in birth control can help to balance the body’s hormones and treat the symptoms, even if there is no cure for PCOS itself.
Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI)
POI is another condition that causes the ovaries to not create enough estrogen. This can sometimes be a side effect of chemotherapy as well as of certain genetic conditions. The treatment helps to strengthen the bones and regulate the body’s menstrual cycle and hormones.
Because of the steady stream of hormones it introduces into your system, birth control can actually help keep severe acne at bay. This is usually only a last resort for acne that cannot be treated by other methods or that is being caused by other conditions.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Symptoms associated with PMS (be they cramps, bloating, mood swings, and more) can be extremely difficult to deal with. Sometimes, these symptoms are severe, which is the result of a disorder called PMDD. Birth control can help regulate hormones in the body and minimize these symptoms.
And more …
Birth control can also potentially help treat migraines and decrease your chances of becoming anemic. It has also been found to lower your chances of developing ovarian cysts, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, and endometrial cancer.
Want to learn more?
Birth control could be exactly what you need, even if you’re not concerned about getting pregnant. To learn more, call us at 757-874-2229, or book an appointment online.