It’s troubling enough when your teen daughter asks for birth control pills. When oral contraceptives are the doctor’s idea, though, you might assume your daughter’s OB/GYN has some insight into her level of sexual activity that you lack. Before you jump to conclusions, there’s something you should know: birth control pills have a whole lot of uses beyond pregnancy prevention.
The fact that women take birth control pills for reasons other than preventing pregnancy may be a revelation to some, but this has actually been the case for many, many years. It may be due to their name, or possibly to the way the way commercials present them, but for whatever reason there are quite a few folks out there who don’t realize how many uses oral contraceptives truly have.
Birth Control Pills Help Young Women with Acne, PMS and Heavy Periods
PMS, acne and heavy periods – also called menorrhagia – can all be caused by hormone issues. When a woman produces too much or too little of a certain hormone, her body acts out in a number of ways. This is one reason why a surprising number of the women on birth control are quite young, and may not even be considering becoming sexually active for many years.
Severe menstrual pain interferes with a lot of fully mature women’s work and home life, but in the case of very young women, education is where the real impact lies. Teachers are often disbelieving or unsympathetic to students claiming “female issues,” so young women who suffer with PMS or menorrhagia may even get labeled lazy or dishonest due to their conditions. The issue is compounded by the societal tendency to treat realistic discussions of menstruation as taboo.
When the hormone imbalance causes acne, it’s the classmates who give the labels, and these are usually even more hurtful than those the teachers assign. A young woman’s self esteem can end up shattered for the rest of her life as the result of this teasing. It may seem like an issue of vanity to some, but it goes far deeper than that when talking about a young person in her formative years.
Oral Contraceptives Can Also Protect Future Fertility
Acne and menstruation-related issues aren’t the only results of a hormone imbalance. More serious conditions like polycystic ovaries and endometriosis also stem from hormone issues – and are also treatable with birth control pills.
If your daughter’s OB/GYN suggests birth control pills for one of these conditions, not only are you not encouraging promiscuity, you may actually be protecting her ability to have children when she is eventually ready for them. These conditions can result in infertility if left untreated.
For a large number of these young women, oral contraceptives are the answer to quality of life issues as well as serious conditions that could affect future fertility. In fact, many OB/GYNs suggest birth control pills as the first course of action when a patient complains of these conditions. Far from simply being a tool to prevent pregnancy, birth control pills are in fact a medication in their own right, and one with a long-term, proven track record.
All About Women is a Florida-based women’s health center offering obstetrics, gynecology and midwife services in support of our mission: to provide comprehensive healthcare for women, combining personal attention with modern technology; to treat each patient with warmth and enthusiasm; and to provide a nurturing environment in women’s healthcare.