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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 February 12, 2019

12 Things That May Cause Breast Cancer You Should Avoid

12 Things That May Cause Breast Cancer You Should Avoid

I’m a hypochondriac. Always have been since I was a child. One of my biggest fears as an adult is getting breast cancer. I visited my gynecologist a few months ago and asked what I could do to help prevent getting breast cancer. You know what she said? Nothing. According to this recommended OB/GYN doctor, besides regular check-ups to see if I already had breast cancer, there was nothing I could do to prevent a cancer that impacts 1 in 8 U.S. women.

BS.

After heavily researching breast cancer, I found out that I was making quite a few mistakes with my everyday activities. Here are 12 things that may cause breast cancer that you should avoid.

Buying Deodorant Without Checking the Label

I actually have a good friend who is more of a hypochondriac than I am, so I went to her with my concerns about breast cancer. She took me into the bathroom and thrust her deodorant at me. While at first I was confused and slightly offended, she explained that I should start using a different deodorant because the mass-produced ones at the store have ingredients (ie aluminum –based compounds) I can’t afford to put under my armpits and so close to my breasts. Luckily, she had an extra Tom’s natural deodorant to give me.

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There might not be any “conclusive” research that links antiperspirants to breast cancer but better safe than sorry.

Using Chemical Hair Dye

I know so many people who dye their hair every few months using the cheap boxed dyes you can buy at the store. Sure, it can be fun but it’s like playing Russian Roulette because the dyes you use most likely contain carcinogens. The National Cancer Institute even warns against the practice of just picking out a hair dye willy-nilly. So the next time you do it, go to a health foods market and find the most naturally-based hair dye you can.

Smoking

Regarding my visit to the gynecologist, she did come back after our conversation a few minutes later and asked if I smoked or drank a lot of alcohol. I said no (I don’t think any true hypochondriac can do either of those things). “You’ll be fine then,” she said. But she forgot about second-hand smoke, which can be just as dangerous. Now, I won’t go near anyone if they’re lighting up, including my BFF’s boyfriend. He can get as mad as he wants; my health is more important!

Wearing the Wrong Bra Size

When an organization devoted to protecting women against breast cancer suggests you get fitted with the right bra, you take notice. Bras that are too small or big might pose a risk because they just aren’t supportive on the breast tissue or if they are too tight they will cut off drainage of the lymph fluid. Hey, it was a great excuse to head to Victoria’s Secret to get measured.

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If I had my choice though, I would go all-natural and join the bra burners of the 60s (however, my mom was a bra burner, so that might make it a little awkward).

Using Chemical Household Cleaners

If the cabinet under your kitchen sink looks like most, there are enough chemicals to make all sorts of crazy things. And yes, as you and I suspected, those chemicals are REALLY bad. Not only are they connected with breast cancer, they are connected with other kinds of cancers, as well as chronic conditions like migraines, allergies and more. So from now on, clean with vinegar, baking soda and other materials that aren’t going to give you a medical nightmare.

Using Mothballs

When I was a little kid, I learned to use mothballs. They actually remind me of my grandmother, bless her heart. Little did I know that they are filled with chemicals that have been connected with breast cancer development. Looks like I’ll be looking for an alternative, like cedar chips. Sorry, Grammy!

Putting Non-Organic Make-Up on My Face

I won’t tell you the foundation I use, but I will tell you that after I read the ingredients, I promptly threw it away. It was chock full of all sorts of nasty things like parabens, which have been found en masse in tissue samples that came from breast cancer patients. I can still wear make-up, though. A trip to my local whole foods store was all it took to come up with organic-based, paraben-free cover-up.

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Neglecting My Physical Health

In my research, I discovered losing weight is a good way to ward off breast cancer since there have been indications of a link between being overweight and being diagnosed with this type of cancer. That’s all the motivation I need to get off the couch and head to the gym.

Drinking Alcohol

Like I mentioned above, alcohol has never been my drink of choice but basically everyone else I know highly enjoys their beer. Yet alcohol is super problematic if you want to avoid breast cancer, liver cancer and heart cancer. In a global study, over 21 percent of alcohol related deaths were because of cancer. I’m hoping for a soon-to-be revolution that swaps alcohol for tea (healthier and less expensive) when it comes to social drinking. Tea time anyone?

De-Odorizing My House With Air Fresheners

I love a clean-smelling house and car, but the air fresheners I’ve been using contain phthalates, a type of plasticizing chemical. Phthalates have been found in air fresheners because they help create a long-lasting fragrance. Unfortunately, that fragrance could be deadly. Looks like I’ll be boiling some water, cinnamon sticks and cloves on the stovetop to make my house smell really amazing!

Storing Everything in Plastic Containers

I have a habit of collecting those plastic containers. Whenever I get a coupon for them, I just go hog-wild and buy a bunch. But they have a connection to breast cancer, which I didn’t know before. It’s especially bad when you use them to reheat food in the microwave. I’m going to suck it up, throw them out and use glass containers instead.

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Buying the Wrong Food

I figured that pesticides were trouble from the get-go, and I was right. They get into your foods and, in some cases, seem to foster an environment where cancerous cells feel compelled to grow within the organs and tissues, including the breasts. It’s one more reason to buy from local farmers, as long as they don’t use pesticides. You’ll have to ask them, by the way; most local food market stands don’t have signs up about the whole pesticides topic.

While everyone still makes fun of me for being a hypochondriac, I know in my heart that I’m actually just protecting myself, and maybe educating some people on the health dangers that lurk in everyday items. My wellbeing is worth being the butt of a few jokes. Yours is, too.

Featured photo credit: NA via istockphoto.com

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