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Contraception—Not Just For Birth Control 

9-in-10 women report using contraception. And they are not just using it to prevent pregnancy. In fact, 58% of women take the pill for reasons other than just birth control, including regulating hormone imbalances and treating serious medical conditions. 


As lawmakers at the state and federal level consider bills that will determine our right to basic birth control, it is important that they take into consideration the many different reasons doctors prescribe this medication. There is a danger that poorly written bills, crafted to score political points, could outlaw medical treatments many women and families rely on.

Numerous forms of contraception work by regulating different types of hormones. In addition to acting as birth control, these medications can help alleviate the symptoms and provide life-saving treatments for a number conditions caused by hormonal imbalances. These include:


  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): As many as 5 million women in the US are affected by PCOS, a hormonal disorder that can cause the formation of cysts on the ovaries, irregular periods, and excessive hair growth. There is no cure for PCOS, but hormonal contraceptives can help manage symptoms.

  • Menstrual migraines: 28% of women take oral contraceptives to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines triggered by hormone fluctuations during menstruation.

  • Perimenopause symptoms: Hormonal contraception can help manage irregular periods, hot flashes, and night sweats that can occur as a woman approaches menopause.

  • Excessive acne: 14% of women take the pill to help reduce the occurrence and severity of acne by regulating hormones that contribute to breakouts.

Contraceptives can also help


  • Reduce extremely painful cramping and excessive bleeding: Hormonal contraceptives, such as birth control, can help alleviate dysmenorrhea, a condition characterized by painful menstrual cramps, as well as menorrhagia, extremely heavy periods that can lead to dangerous levels of bleeding and even anemia. As much as 35% of women have abnormal uterine bleeding and 15% or more experience severe pain during menstruation.

  • Alleviate Endometriosis: More than 6.5 million women experience endometriosis, a painful condition where the tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. It can also lead to excessive bleeding. Similar to other conditions, the symptoms of endometriosis can be alleviated by birth control medication.

  • Lower the risk of certain cancers: Use of certain contraceptives can lower the risk of certain types of cancer, such as ovarian and endometrial cancer.

  • Manage Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that can interfere with work, social activities, and relationships. The disorder causes severe physical and emotional symptoms, including depression, changes to sleep or eating behaviors, anxiety, fatigue, and anger. 5-8% of menstruating women are diagnosed with PMDD and birth control pills are one common treatment. 

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