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10 Common Myths About The Pill

10 Common Myths About The Pill

Birth control pills haven’t been in common use for very long. Whilst women have employed contraceptive methods for centuries, the idea of a pill as contraception is a relatively new concept — and it also isn’t one that people talk about very often. This can create an aura of mystery and misinformation about it, so there are plenty of myths floating around out there concerning contraceptive pills.

We’re going to tackle some of the most dangerous and prevalent myths relating to both birth control pills and birth control in general, so you can get the facts you need to know.

1. Pulling Out Is An Effective Birth Control Measure

Many couples hoping to enjoy intercourse but not become pregnant employ what is known as the pull-out method. This involves the male pulling out of the female before ejaculation. Whilst it sounds good in theory, it’s not very effective in practice. That’s because semen can be released before ejaculation. Additionally, it takes a lot of discipline for the male to be able to pull out in time, and the statistics show that this method results in pregnancy for 25% of couples when it is their only form of birth control.

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2. Use Of Birth Control Pills Leads To Cancer

No matter what you are doing, if people don’t like it or fear it, at some point, somebody will suggest that it causes cancer or increases the risk of cancer. There is some actual research behind the claims that birth control pills will cause cervical cancer, though. Some studies have shown that the hormonal changes that it causes can slightly increase the risk of cancer in younger women. This is a risk that decreases back to its normal levels after they stop taking the pill for at least 10 years.

For women who are 30 or older, the risk factors don’t really change when they use the pill. In fact, quite the opposite occurs. The pill actually protects them from cervical and ovarian cancers, lowering their risk. This is one myth that only holds partial truth for some people.

3. The Longer You Take the Pill, The Harder It Will Be To Become Pregnant When You Stop

This is a myth a lot of people have trouble denouncing, since it seems to make sense. Many people believe that if you take the pill for a long time, once you stop, you will have a difficult time becoming pregnant. They think there are permanent changes that occur and that your body is simply used to the idea of not being pregnant anymore. However, that isn’t true, as you can become pregnant as soon as you stop taking the pill. Your hormone levels won’t shoot back to normal as soon as you stop taking it; so yes it is, in theory, harder for you to become pregnant right away. Pregnancy is still possible though, and the chances of it only increase as you stay off the pill.

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4. You Cannot Become Pregnant While On The Pill

This is a dangerous misconception, and it is one lots of people share. Even though the pharmacist or doctor will tell them up front that there is a chance they will still become pregnant while taking birth control, many people simply won’t believe it. They think that taking the pill is 100% effective. That’s not the case, though, as some people still do become pregnant while on birth control pills. The chance of that occurring is small, but it is still there, and everyone taking the pill or considering taking it needs to realize that and be prepared.

5. You Can’t Become Pregnant While Breastfeeding

This is another common myth that is just plain wrong, and it can lead to an unplanned pregnancy. If you are breastfeeding, your hormone levels will change, which can cause you to experience lower fertility levels, but there is still a chance you can get pregnant. It’s a good rule of thumb that anytime you hear someone say that you can’t be pregnant while doing something, then there is actually still a chance pregnancy is possible.

6. Birth Control Pills Prevent STDs

You may have heard that if you are on the pill, then you are protected from STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). This myth isn’t based on any actual fact, since all the pill protects you from is pregnancy, and it doesn’t even do that 100%. You can still receive STDs as easily as ever while taking the pill. If you are having sex with an infected partner, you always want to wear protection, such as a condom.

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7. Pregnancy Can Be Aborted By The Morning-After Pill

There are misconceptions about the morning-after pill as well. Some people believe it causes an abortion as soon as you use it, but that’s not the case. Instead, its mechanism prevents ovulation or fertilization, depending on what has occurred within the body so far. If you are already pregnant, it won’t do anything for you. It should only be used to prevent a pregnancy and not to try to stop one after it has occurred.

8. Taking A Birth Control Pill Will Be Effective Immediately

It may be easy to conflate or mix up the idea of a birth control pill with a morning-after pill, but they don’t quite work the same way. The birth control pill is meant to be cycled and taken on a schedule that works with your hormonal changes to prevent pregnancy. If you just start taking it whenever you want, it may not work the way it is supposed to, and you can end up with an unplanned pregnancy.

9. You Can’t Become Pregnant During Your Period

While your menstrual cycle will interfere with pregnancy and make it impossible for you to become pregnant during specific days, you can still get pregnant if you had intercourse during those days. That’s because the semen can sit inside your vagina for almost a week, still viable and ready to fertilize any eggs that emerge.

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10. You Should Take Breaks From Using Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are not actually dangerous for most women, and they should be safe for you to use as long as you want. However, if you take the birth control shot, then your body can start to lose minerals over time, and it may be necessary to break every now and then to let your body replenish its supply.

Featured photo credit: CDDEP Communications via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 15, 2018

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

“Why am I so tired?” is a question that people ask themselves pretty frequently. Everyone gets tired at one point or another, particularly after something like an illness, a long night up with a sick child, or a busy week at work. When tiredness is persistent, however — when you feel tired as soon as you wake up in morning or when sleep doesn’t seem to help, no matter how much rest you get— it may often indicate a deeper, underlying problem.

While there are a lot of possible reasons for tiredness, here’re some of the most common causes of fatigue:

1. Dehydration

If you want to boost your energy levels, first check whether you are dehydrated. The human brain is 85% water, and needs to maintain this level in order to perform its essential functions.

If you fail to drink enough water, the brain extracts fluids from your blood to compensate for the deficit. As a result, the oxygen levels in your blood drop, reducing the amount of energising oxygen available to your organs and tissues. Fatigue and sleepiness set in rapidly, leaving you more vulnerable to the 2 pm post-lunch crash that many of us experience.

You cannot cure this crash with caffeine – the only long-term, effective solution is to drink hydrating fluids throughout the day.

2. Lack Of Exercise

A workout will surely leave you feeling even more tired, right? Wrong! As counterintuitive as it may sound, physical activities have an energizing effect. Moving your body releases endorphins, increases your heart rate, and boosts your concentration.

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Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise every day. It’s easiest if you can make this part of our everyday routine, either as soon as you wake up or right after work.

3. A Poor Diet

The food you eat has a direct impact on sleep quality and the amount of rest you get every night. For maximum energy, stick to protein, slow-release carbohydrates, and a moderate amount of healthy (unsaturated) fats. The majority of your food should be plant-based, high in fiber, and low in sugar. These choices will prevent blood sugar fluctuations, which can leave you feeling exhausted.

An easy way to make sure you stick to a good diet is through meal preparation. It’s easy to just get take-out when you’re tired after work, but if you have a meal ready for you in the fridge, you’ll be less tempted by pizza or cheese.

Find out more about healthy meal prep here: 10 Meal Planning Apps You Need To Have To Get Healthier Easily

4. Skipping Breakfast

Physician Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan advises that eating breakfast is key to maintaining a good level of energy throughout the day. When you eat breakfast, you are sending calming signals to the areas of the brain responsible for avoiding danger, along with those that instruct the body to conserve as much energy as possible.

Ingesting food signals to your brain that there is enough food available to ensure our survival. This encourages it to stay relaxed, which in turn, promotes restful sleep.

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Some great ideas for a healthy, filling, and make-ahead breakfasts include overnight oats, smoothies, and freezer-friendly breakfast burritos.

Or if meal-prepping isn’t your think, stock up on easy but healthy breakfast foods like multigrain cereal, yogurt, and fruit: 20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

5. Poor Quality Of Sleep

We all know that it’s important to wind down a couple of hours before bed. But did you know that it’s what you do throughout the day that promotes good-quality sleep? It’s not just about the number of hours you sleep, but how restful and deep that sleep is.

TO feel rested, try to regulate your everyday routine to make your sleep deeper and better. Get up at a regular time in the morning to ensure that you get regular sunlight.

Eat nutritious foods in moderate amounts, and make sure you stay hydrated. Go to bed at the same time. And before bedtime, avoid screens that can give off harmful blue light and also keep you stimulated when you need to prepare for a restful night.

Read more about how to develop a routine that will get you better sleep: Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do Since Morning

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6. Sleep Apnea (A Person’s Airways Get Blocked off While They Are Asleep)

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where a person’s airways get blocked off while they are asleep, causing their oxygen levels to drop while they are asleep. This often causes people to stop breathing at night and then to jerk themselves awake (this can happen over 30 times an hour).

Because of this, people with sleep apnea can feel short of breath and have low energy levels. Mouthpieces and other devices to aid in breathing as well as the use of a special breathing machine to keep oxygen levels in a safe zone.

If you feel tired all the time and think you might have sleep apnea, consulting with a doctor is important. Do a sleep study, as this can often reveal if there is an underlying problem causing your tiredness — and once a diagnosis is made, treatment to help you get your energy back begins.

7. Depression

Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States (and in many other countries of the world as well). It is marked by persistent feelings of sadness or unhappiness but has physical symptoms, too. Apart from fatigue, people may also experience changes in sleeping and eating habits and difficulty concentrating.

Treatment can often center on anti-depressants, counselling and lifestyle changes like stress management to help manage this condition. You can take a look at these 15 Ways To Overcome Depression And Sadness.

Many people also benefit from activities like yoga and meditation, which help regulate both the body and mind.

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8. Hypothyroidism

If a person has hypothyroidism, their thyroid gland does not produce adequate levels of these important hormones— and the result can be a persistent and unrelenting fatigue, even if someone is getting enough sleep. Other common symptoms of this disorder include mood swings, weight gain and feeling cold all the time.

Fortunately, simple blood work can reveal if there is a problem and it can be treated with artificial thyroid hormone pills like Synthroid. Check here for signs of having a thyroid problem. If you suspect that you might have hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor.

9. Anemia

People with anemia are not able to make enough red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the their bodies. This is often due to a lack of nutrients like iron or B-12 and can be caused by problems such as heavy periods, bleeding in the digestive tract or pregnancy (due to the increased demands of the growing baby).

However, in most cases, this can be resolved with treatments like changes in diet, iron supplements or B-12 shots.

While here are some drinks you can try to relieve symptoms of Anemia, it’s best to do a blood test and consult your doctor in case of any hidden medical conditions.

10. Cancer

While you shouldn’t be freaking out about cancer just because you are tired, it is a fact that fatigue is one of the symptoms of cancer. Other common symptoms can include unexplained weight loss and the presence of palpable lumps or growths. This disease is marked by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells that can do damage to surround tissues and possibly spread to other parts of the body.

Diagnosis is usually by biopsy and treatment often focusses on radiation, chemotherapy or surgery— and generally when a diagnosis is made early, the outcomes for the patient are better.

Featured photo credit: Lily Banse via unsplash.com

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