Back in the 1960s when birth control became a mainstream pharmaceutical, women and men alike were hailing it as a miracle pill, says Marla Ahlgrimm. Reproductive freedom became a possibility and everyone was happy. Today, we give very little thought to contraceptives. But we should pay more attention. As it turns out, birth control does more than allow for unprotected sex.
Birth control, asserts Marla Ahlgrimm, is often prescribed to help women clear up acne. According to the retired pharmacist, synthetic estrogen can trigger the body to release SHBG, a protein that diminishes testosterone production. This is important for women with skin issues since testosterone increases sebum output, which in turn clogs pores and leads to a pimply complexion.
Not every side effect of birth control is good, says Marla Ahlgrimm. In 2010, researchers concluded that birth-control-taking women had slightly lower bone density than their non-contraceptive-using counterparts. Ahlgrimm notes this is likely happens because women who take birth control have a steady stream of estrogen. Those who forgo contraceptive medicines experience a slight spike in the hormone through each menstrual cycle, which stimulates bone density growth.
According to Marla Ahlgrimm, certain types of birth control formulated with drospirenone are linked to slightly elevated risk of venous thromboembolism. These blood clots of the leg are still extremely rare with only three in 10,000 women experiencing them.
Additionally, birth control pills are suspected to be linked to increase matter in the area of the brain that controls decision-making and memory.
The chemicals found in birth control affect us in many ways, says Marla Ahlgrimm. Women who are interested in taking the pill should discuss concerns with their healthcare provider and consider alternative forms of birth control if any of the potential short-or long-term side effects are undesirable.