A new study has reported that social media influencers are boycotting hormonal contraceptives despite backlash from medical professionals deeming the trend ‘risky’. But who should you believe? Is it safe to use hormonal contraception?
Emily Pfenders study discusses the influx of social media influencers promoting the discontinuation of hormonal contraception, to which medical professionals have been slamming this trend as spreading misinformation and influencing young people to make unsafe and uneducated decisions about birth control.
I think the issue with this ‘trend’ isn’t that these influencers are purposely spreading false information, but that they are failing to discuss how to use non-hormonal options safely, and how hormonal contraception can have benefits too.
There’s nothing wrong with opting for non-hormonal contraception and there are plenty of reasons to feel safer doing so. Whether that be to avoid risks of breast cancer, blood clots and depression or simply to avoid STIs.
I’ve been on hormonal contraception since I was around 13 due to heavy periods and short cycles and that worked for me. It wasn’t until I had a mishap with my second contraceptive implant that I decided to take a break from hormonal contraception, after 7-8 years on them that I realised what they had been doing to my mental wellbeing and body.
Since coming off hormonal contraception I realised just how much I didn’t know my body and my hormone cycle because I hadn’t let it exist naturally since the beginning of puberty. On reflection taking the pill and being on the implant lead to difficulty regulating emotions, low libido and pain and irritation during sex. Now it’s coming up to 2 years off hormonal contraception and I’ve felt extremely empowered I feel that I understand who I am, how my body works, and I have pain-free sex (which is always a bonus!)
Now I’m not saying that hormonal contraception is bad and you shouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole, but you should be mindful of your body and brain, and be completely educated on what you’re choosing to put into your body, because hormonal contraception has so many benefits. Such as reducing menstrual discomfort, reducing anxiety, promoting hair growth and lowering the risk of endometrial, ovarian and colorectal cancers.
But it comes with its risks so it’s good to understand those too. These can include depression, acne and an increased risk of breast and cervical cancer*. So doing your research before jumping into hormonal contraception should be a must, keeping in check with yourself and your body to track how it may be affecting you, and taking breaks or planning how long you want to take them for is necessary.
Don’t let the convenience of them make you mindlessly continue your prescriptions, you need to understand exactly how they can affect your body so that you can remain in control. You can check out our ‘how reliable is my contraception guide’ and use companies like thelowdown to make educated and informed decisions on what form of contraception you take.
*There’s a higher risk of people on the pill getting breast cancer but after 10 or more years this risk goes away. Also taking birth control for more than 5 years increases the risk of cervical cancer.