When I first started using birth control, I had never had sex and it wasn’t something I planned on doing for a while. Despite marketing depicting contraception as an exclusively sexual health related product, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that birth control is an essential tool that many women use, myself included, to help alleviate the side effects that come from hormone irregularities.
A study by the Guttmacher Institute found that 99 percent of women use birth control in their lifetime and 60 percent use it for something other than family planning. While this study was published 10 years ago, its sentiment still rings true today. Birth control serves so many purposes beyond pregnancy prevention. Even in my own life, I know many friends, family members and co-workers who all began using birth control long before they needed it for their sexual health protection.
My first encounter with birth control came from a recommendation by my doctor, after I ended up in the emergency room one night because of such extreme period pain. I could barely walk at the time because of the piercing pain I felt inside, to the point my parents had to half carry me inside the hospital for help.
No one could really give me any solid answers as to why this was happening to me, so I was given some extra-strong pain medicine and a few tests before being sent on my way. I was left feeling like this was a burden I would have to bear for the rest of my life. The next day my doctor prescribed me the birth control pill as an attempt to help control the hormones in my body, which would hopefully in turn combat the acne, cramps, and heavy menstrual flow I was experiencing.
Honestly I felt relieved to start birth control, despite not being sexually active, I knew so many people who swore the birth control pill was their saviour when it came to all side effects that were period related. I was having such a hard time that doing anything proactive felt great. Quickly the optimism faded as within two years, I tried five different brands of the pill and nothing seemed to quite work for me. Mentally, hormonal birth control was very difficult and I was left feeling really low. While it was such a difficult and overwhelming process, looking back I still feel glad I had that experience because I learned so much.
Birth control really is for everyone and with Reya, it’s never been easier to explore all your contraceptive options and help manage symptoms, regardless of whether or not you’re sexually active. I wish I had a resource like Reya back then because I thought that there was no such thing as a perfect fit in terms of birth control and despite not needing contraception for my sexual health at the time, it truly became invaluable to me.
Using birth control pills did control the extreme cramps I was having during my periods, so fortunately I never found myself back in the emergency room again. While there were larger health issues at play that I would discover later after switching to a new doctor who properly tested me, it was still so useful to try out the different brands of birth control pills as I really got a feel for what worked for me.
Not only was using birth control to manage hormonal issues helpful back then, but it gave me more confidence to explore different kinds of contraception as I learned more about what worked (and didn’t) for me. In my own journey, I eventually learned I have hypothyroidism and now actually avoid any and all hormonal contraception that could mess with my medication, which led me to the Copper IUD instead.
This contraceptive journey was the beginning of getting my health and well-being back on track. I’d highly encourage you to give it a try if you have health concerns you’d like to address! Sexually active or not, birth control doesn’t discriminate.
The challenge for a lot of women is finding the right type of birth control that can meet their needs. Many choose to take the pill or use the patch or ring to fight hormonal acne, cramps, heavy periods, and some premenstrual symptoms such as headaches and depression.
While there are a lot of options, Reya is there to support you through it. To get unique, personalized information on where to start in your birth control journey, visit reyahealth.ca!
Editor: Lisa Hou