Each month in a sealed package, usually with a cool tone color to it, a fresh set of birth control pills are prescribed to women all over the world. Along with those pills is a package of papers that explains how and what to do with the pills, but these sets of directions and warnings fail to provide all of the necessary information women should have while taking it.
Many young women are still consistently misinformed of what the contents of these pills are, and what effect they have within their bodies. At the University of Colorado Boulder, students can receive information on different types of birth control as well as a prescription itself if students feel misinformed about their other prescriptions.
There are many different types of birth control pills. Two main types are either a combination of estrogen and progesterone, or progesterone alone. The pill protects women from unwanted pregnancy, it can regulate women’s menstrual periods, treat acne, lower the risk of anemia, as well as lower the risk of cancer. It can also preserve fertility within a woman because of the halt it places on ovulation. While we know the use of birth control is productive in both health treatment as well as the prevention of unplanned pregnancy, women are not properly educated on the responsibility it takes to use this prescription.
“Many young women are still consistently misinformed of what the contents of these pills are, and what effect they have within their bodies.”
Certain types of medication such as antibiotics and anti-seizure medications can decrease the hormone levels within your birth control and make the pill less effective. Though there are not many types of medications that can do this, and more research has to be done, there is still the potential for the pill to lose its effect. Specifically, there is only one proven antibiotic that can interrupt the function of the pill. However, there are other medications such as the antifungal drug griseofulvin that makes the pill lose its function. The problem with this is that this information cannot be found within the packet from the pharmacy that tags along with your prescription, the packet just informs users to consult with their doctor.
For students at CU, misinformation can lead to misinformed decisions.
“I did stop taking melatonin because I heard it messes up your birth control and makes it less effective,” said CU freshman Julia Gomez.
“I find it so hard to take my pill at the same time every day. I’m on a three-month birth control so I only get my period every three months. So when I miss a pill my body spirals,” said CU freshmen Mackenzie Martin.
If one pill is missed, it is ineffective until taken consistently for seven days. Progestin pills are ineffective if taken three hours off-schedule. Without a backup plan such as Plan B or a condom, patients who use birth control pills are susceptible to an unplanned pregnancy.
Approximately 11 million women in the U.S. use birth control. Smoking while on the pill can increase a woman’s risk for a blood clot that could cause a stroke. The information packet that partners the prescription informs women of this risk but is easily overlooked. When patients do this while also failing to do personal research, they place themselves in a dangerous situation.
“I Juul. I just learned (the effect nicotine has on the pill). Honestly, I don’t read the packet,” Gomez said.
If you intend to use the pill and smoke, tell your doctor. They may give you a pill that is less likely to have these extreme and sometimes deadly side effects. Of course, if you want full protection you could always quit.
One way that students can gain more information to further their understanding of their birth control is to visit Wardenburg’s website. It holds resources linked within the Sexual and Reproductive Health page that can educate women who may have questions about how to properly use their prescriptions. Female students must understand there are answers to their questions and they can never be too informed.
Users need to be aware of how to properly consume the pill and what could happen when they misuse it. Being honest with your doctor and asking questions should be the bottom line. Birth control does not have to be a mystery and can easily be very effective and helpful to a woman’s health.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Zoe Schacht at firstname.lastname@example.org.