I’ve been on birth control pills since I was a teenager. Initially, I took them for health reasons, but as I got older and started having sex, their purpose obviously shifted to keeping me from getting pregnant. I’ve been on the Pill for so long now that I can barely remember what my life is like without it. Of course, birth control comes with some serious side effects, some good, some bad — here are just a few:
Awesome: I know exactly when my period is coming. It’s actually really nerve-wracking to remember days gone by when my period was irregular and could come at any time. I remember that horrible feeling when I’d find I’d started the night before a pool party and it’s pretty sweet knowing I won’t have to deal with that again. Plus, I haven’t ruined a pair of white pants in years. I love always knowing when my period’s on its way.
Not Awesome: The pill can dry you out. According to Dr. Lauren Streicher, some women can experience vaginal dryness after years of using the pill. It can make everything from sex to using tampons really uncomfortable, and I’m not a huge fan. However, it’s something that can be eased with some lube or just using a pad. Still annoying AF, though.
Awesome: I have lighter, shorter periods. After years and years on the pill, I’ve noticed my periods are really light, really short, and make normal activities much easier. I no longer worry about bleeding through my pads; my period is almost non-existent.
Not Awesome: My boobs hurt. Having your breasts feeling sore constantly isn’t the most fun part of taking birth control pills. They make your boobs ache like you’re still a growing pre-teen. Running up or down the stairs without a bra can hurt, and sleeping on your stomach can be painful as well. However, along with the pain, I’ve also noticed that they are a little more sensitive to touch, which makes things a little more exciting in the bedroom — as long as my partner is gentle!
Awesome: The pill has kept me from getting pregnant. I’ve never wanted kids, and as a person who’s been sexually active since I was a teenager, pregnancy has always been a worry in the back of my mind. But after using the Pill for a long time without ever getting pregnant, I feel much more confident having sex without having to worry about becoming a mom. It’s a serious weight off.
Not Awesome: It makes me moody. The Pill messes directly with your hormones, which can mess directly with your head. Sometimes, the Pill has made me sleepy, grumpy, and the rest of the seven dwarves, too. Until I started taking the Pill, I never had crazy PMS symptoms outside of the day before my period started. I’ve learned to manage my mood swings over the years, but they can still occasionally catch me by surprise — especially if I’m short on sleep.
Awesome: My PMS pain has gotten better. Whether this is the actual Pill coming to the rescue or not, I’m not sure, but since I’ve started taking birth control, I’ve noticed the pain that usually comes along with my period isn’t as bad. I no longer spend a few hours on the couch with a heating pad over my belly, watching sad movies and hoping that my uterus decides to move out on its own.
Not Awesome: I’ve gained weight. It’s not much weight. To be honest, it’s significantly less weight than I probably would have gained having kids. However, I did notice that I put on a little fat after starting the pill. I have to work a little harder to manage my weight. However, it’s still super worth it not to have to worry about accidentally getting pregnant.
Awesome: I’m at a lower risk for ovarian cancer. Certain types of diseases run in my family, including ovarian cancer as well as other ovarian and uterine problems. Birth control pills, while not fool-proof, can help to prevent some of these health risks in people that take them for a long time. That’s pretty good news for us millennials, who’ve had hormonal birth control available to us for most of our lives.
Not Awesome: I’m at a higher risk for breast cancer. Although hormonal birth control does help prevent ovarian issues, breast cancer also runs in my family, which sucks. Breast cancer risk is higher in women who never have children, as well as women over five foot seven inches tall, which is also me. Ugh. I’ll be definitely be getting regular mammograms for the rest of my life.
Awesome: It works for me. I don’t like needles, so the idea of getting a birth control implant scares the crap out of me. Just the thoughts of IUDs also makes me ill. Same goes for things like the rings anything else you have to stick up inside yourself and leave hanging around for any amount of time. The Pill is what I’m used to, and it works for me. It’s convenient, effective, safe, and has the hormones I need to help control my health issues too. Although it doesn’t work for everyone, I wouldn’t give up my pills for anything.