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Debunking More Birth Control Pill Myths

When it comes to birth control pills, myths, misunderstandings and misconceptions abound -- and unintended conceptions can result.  The following rumors about birth control pills can finally be put to rest:

  • Have you heard that you need a "pill vacation" after being on it for several years?  This is not true.  The myth about the Pill being unsafe for women over 35 is also outdated, unless you are a smoker.  Unless your doctor gives you a medical reason to stop taking the Pill, you can probably take it safely until menopause.  Smoking over age 35 IS a reason to stop smoking; if you can't, then stop taking the Pill,  and use another form of contraception.
  • Another myth: "If you've tried one Pill, you've tried them all."  Not true.  While many birth control pills are similar, there are many different formulations offering different doses, side effects, and benefits.
  • Some women mistakenly think that once they stop taking the Pill, they'll have difficulty getting pregnant.  This is not true.  A woman who stops taking the Pill will have no more trouble conceiving than a woman OF THE SAME AGE who has not taken them.
  • Unfortunately, many women think that if they're on the Pill, they're practicing safe sex.   Not true.  The Pill provides excellent contraception, but it does not protect a woman from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV/AIDS.
  • Many women believe-incorrectly-that they can't take the Pill while nursing.  Not true.  Progestin-only contraceptives are a safe and effective method of contraception for breast-feeding women as early as three weeks postpartum.

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Created: 5/25/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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