Are There Other Uses Of Contraceptive Pills?
Oral contraceptive pills are used as a very popular and reliable method of birth control in the United States as well as across the globe. According to latest estimates; more than 61 million women in the US falls under childbearing age (i.e. 15 to 44 years) and about 60-70% of these women are exposed to the risk of unintended pregnancy. Needless to say that this significant chunk of population can benefit from the birth control methods like oral contraceptive pills. There are several other benefits of OCPs; such as:
- Child spacing: It is highly recommended to maintain adequate child spacing between successive pregnancies to ensure optimal maternal and fetal health. Although, exclusive breastfeeding can serve as a relative contraceptive options, but it does not always prevent unintentional pregnancies.
- Population control: Oral contraceptive pills are helpful at preventing an unintended pregnancy in about 78 -91% cases. According to latest data, more than 9 million women in US rely on oral contraceptives to prevent unintended pregnancies (this corresponds to about 16% of the reproductive aged women).
- Preventing Teen Pregnancies: Most birth control methods are costly or unreliable. Moreover, most teenagers are casual when it comes to contraception. In all such cases, hormonal contraception can act as a more cost-efficient and reliable method in improving the outcome and minimizing the rate of teen pregnancies.
But this is not all. What if we tell you that there are several other applications of birth control pills?
Other Indications Of Oral Contraceptives
It may seem strange, but some oral contraceptive pills can be used for the management of acne and menstrual cramps. In United States, around 33% teenagers are using contraceptive pills for the management of menstrual cramps and other issues besides birth control.
Based on the results of a new survey:
- 86% women use oral contraceptives for the prevention of unwanted pregnancies.
- 31% women use contraceptive pills for the reduction of menstrual pain and cramps
- 14% are advised to consume oral contraceptives by their doctor to manage acne
- 28% females use OCPs to regulate their menstrual cycle
- 4% use these birth control pills to manage the disturbing symptoms of endometriosis
There are 762,000 who never had sex but still are using contraceptive pills for other indications.
Who Benefits From The Non-Conventional Uses Of Birth Control Pills?
The use of birth control pills for non-contraceptive purposes is more common in teenagers as menstrual irregularities and cramping are more likely to occur during teen years. It may seem surprising but according to latest estimates, more than 8% of the teens who never indulged in the sexual act use contraceptive pills for reducing menstrual pain.
Various research studies have been conducted to find out if these oral birth control pills are efficacious for non-contraceptive purposes; and the results are even more astonishing. Besides managing above listed issues; birth control pills are also found to be beneficial for the management of hirsutism, polycystic ovarian syndrome, uterine fibroids, and dysmenorrhea (3). There is substantial evidence which proves that oral contraceptives can be helpful in protecting against endometrial and ovarian cancer and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (3, 4). All these researches and statistical data indicates how important it is to make these contraceptive pills readily available for women of all ages.
1. Grossman, D., Grindlay, K., Li, R., Potter, J. E., Trussell, J., & Blanchard, K. (2013). Interest in over-the-counter access to oral contraceptives among women in the United States. Contraception, 88(4), 544-552.
2. Archer, J. S., & Chang, R. J. (2004). Hirsutism and acne in polycystic ovary syndrome. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 18(5), 737-754.
3. Costello, M. F., Shrestha, B., Eden, J., Johnson, N., & Moran, L. J. (2007). Insulin‐sensitising drugs versus the combined oral contraceptive pill for hirsutism, acne and risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and endometrial cancer in polycystic ovary syndrome. The Cochrane Library.
4. Liu, S. H., Lazo, M., Koteish, A., Kao, W. L., Shih, M. H., Bonekamp, S., … & Clark, J. M. (2013). Oral contraceptive pill use is associated with reduced odds of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in menstruating women: results from NHANES III. Journal of gastroenterology, 48(10), 1151-1159.