The birth control pill can safely be taken every single day of the year, new NHS guidance states. This news comes after scientists dismissed unjustified idea promoted by the Catholic Church.
Women are convinced that a break from birth control is healthy
A survey conducted with 18 to 19 year old women showed that they seem to believe “women should ‘take a break’ from oral contraceptive pills every couple of years”.
As surprising as it may seem, there is no biological evidence for “giving your body a break” and, in fact, it could do your health more harm than good.
There are many different types of contraceptive pills, most commonly containing both oestrogen and progestogen (called combined oral contraceptive pills).
If your doctor uses detailed medical eligibility criteria to assess whether a method of contraception is suitable for you or not, then the pill will provide a convenient, easily accessible method of contraception, for women under the age of 30.
Keep in mind that a certain pill is not suitable for everyone.
Does hormone build-up actually happen?
Studies in the United States and Australia have found that many women worry about overdosing or having a build-up of hormones in their body if they use hormonal contraception. These types of misconceptions about the way the pill works fuel the erroneous idea that it’s good to take a break from the pill.
It’s true that you might experience some side effects if the pill like breast tenderness, bloating, headaches and nausea, but these aren’t actual effects of the hormones themselves, these unpleasant side effects that are most commonly associated with the hormone-free interval which allows a “withdrawal” bleed to occur, mimicking a natural menstrual cycle.
These side effects may be lessened by new pills or pill regimes with reduced or no hormone-free intervals (and therefore fewer or no withdrawal bleeds).
Once a doctor prescribes the pill for you, it’s generally recommended that you keep taking it for at least three months to allow any unpleasant side effects to /resolve themselves.
It’s a fact that any initial side effects you had on starting will be experienced again after a break, so it’s pretty clear that if you find the pill that works for you, just stick to it.
The thing that you actually should be cautious about is reviewing your contraception periodically, because your body’s needs change as you age.
Are there any health risks associated with taking birth control?
Like all medicines, there is a small risk of serious health effects associated with the pill. These risks appear to be experienced more in the first few months of starting the pill, or when restarting after a break. So it may be more risky to start and stop the pill than it is to use the pill over many years.
Despite the very low risk of health complications associated with the pill, people’s fears are exacerbated by the scary pill effects sustained by flawed research, that is not based on an accurate understanding of the risks.
What should you do?
If the pill suits you, there’s no need to “give your body a break”.
What truly matters is that you go to regular health checks and also review your contraceptive needs periodically.