Dangers of Hormonal Birth Control

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Birth control pills come with a large downside for the peace of mind they bring to women and couples who are not ready to start a family.  Many dangers of birth control pills are not well disclosed by doctors and many women take them for years, unaware of the potentially serious risks associated with their use.  Every baby should be wanted, but here are some dangers of birth control pills which might make you consider choosing a different method of birth control and family planning.

Hormonal birth control increases your risk of breast and cervical cancer.  While it is proven that estrogen hormone replacement therapies in menopause are linked with a higher incidence of reproductive cancers, most women don’t know that long term use of hormonal birth control is also linked to a long term risk for cervical and breast cancers.  The synthetic estrogen in birth control pills is the same as HRT, and the higher risk of cancer increases in correspondence to the length of time hormonal birth control is used.

  Birth Control photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Birth Control photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Birth control pills increase your risk of blood clotting, heart attack, and stroke.  Doctors usually tell women not to smoke if they are taking birth control, but even if you are a non-smoker, your risk of blood clots and related disorders like stroke and heart attack increase if you are taking hormonal birth control.  Obviously, if you are a smoker it is important not to take birth control pills.

However, the rate of women with cardiovascular disease has increased dramatically since the 1960s, which is concurrent to when hormonal birth control was introduced in the West.  Since heart disease is actually the leading cause of death for women in the U.S., it seems high time that the correlation between the vast number of women taking birth control and the increase in cardiovascular disease is recognized.

Hormonal birth control methods decrease bone density.  Birth control is linked to decreased bone density later in life, potentially leading to osteoporosis and debilitating breaks.  Again, the link between HRT and bone density is more widely known, while the length of exposure to birth control pills and the increased risk of lower bone density are well established scientifically.

Birth control pills can lead to potential infertility.  Especially for women who have had long term use of hormonal birth control, the potential for permanent infertility is much greater than in women who have not used birth control pills.  This could be a result in permanent changes in the body’s ability to produce and regulate reproductive hormones.

Hormonal birth control contributes to high blood pressure.  Another cardiovascular risk well documented as being associated with the use of birth control pills is elevate blood pressure.  In combination with the other risk factor of blood clotting, birth control pills put women at a much greater risk of a whole host of cardiovascular problems.

So, why don’t most doctors warn women about all the potentially serious risks associated with the use of hormonal birth control?  It may be for the same reason that other pharmaceuticals with known dangers are prescribed, Americans tend to look for the easiest solution to any issue, just pop a pill and forget about it.  Along with the more cursory side effects like mood swings, changes in weight, and nausea, the dangers of birth control pills can be potentially deadly.  So, is it worth taking hormonal birth control when there are other reliable forms of family planning?  That is for you to answer for yourself.

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