General Question

factoryjoe's avatar

If your niece asked you if she should take birth control or avoid it, what would you say?

Asked by factoryjoe (59points) April 30th, 2008

Presuming that your niece is of a “proper age” to be having sex, and she’s asked you whether or not to take birth control, what would you recommend, given any potential long term health risks/consequences/benefits?

What if her preference is to avoid taking hormones generally? Should she get over that concern given modern medicine and the widespread use of birth control?

Or should she stick to her guns and use other methods (condoms, etc) to prevent pregnancy/have safe sex?

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11 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

Birth control sucks but having a kid or an abortion sucks more. Depends on how much she trusts herself to follow through on the other methods.

That said, I am a huge hypocrite because birth control made me really weepy and bitchy and fat, so I have tried taking it 4 times and eventually gave up.

soundedfury's avatar

My female friends universally take the pill, regardless of their sexual activity, in order to better regulate their menstrual cycles. None of them seem concerned with long term effects.

In general, I recommend it and I think that most fear of hormones is simply a case of misinformation. If she has all the information and make a rational decision to still forego the pill, that is her right. But if she’s just avoiding it out of fear and ignorance, at least try to give her some unbiased, factual info.

factoryjoe's avatar

Well, it’s not just a matter of “misinformation” or “ignorance”. I think nikipedia’s anecdote is a common one—where taking hormones caused (or at least coincided) with some physical bodily change, or with changes to mood or attitude.

If your impression is that, in taking hormones, you risk undesired changes to your body/mood besides minimizing your ability to get pregnant, it’s worth really thinking hard about the decision. Just because the science can’t detect mood changes as a result of the pill doesn’t mean that they don’t exist; indeed in the conversations I’ve had, taking hormones is a very subjective experience, so it’s very helpful to hear the kinds of experiences women have had in taking them (considering that I’ll personally never have the experience!).

soundedfury's avatar

I never said that side effects don’t exist, simply that there is a difference between informed decision and fear. Mood changes are indeed common, and there are different experiences on different pills. A doctor can inform you better as to the expected side effects. If you don’t educate yourself on those things, then it is ignorance.

You might have the experience. There is a male birth control pill in trials right now. I can’t wait for it to hit the market.

factoryjoe's avatar

Hmm, interesting. Well, then I guess eventually I’ll have to rephrase the question to be about my nephew! ;)

But yes, doctor advice aside, I’m still very curious about actual personal experiences—and anecdotes. There’s no one right answer, but if someone else has dealt with this dilemma before, and has made a decision one way or the other (like nikipedia), then that’s very useful information.

nocountry2's avatar

Personally I feel that the pros far outweigh the cons – even if she is dependable on using other methods, A) they are not as effective, and B) it can be difficult to predict how one will act “in the heat of the moment”, more so if any alcohol is involved. I found that a pill with a consistent low-doseage like Demulen helped stabalize my mood swings, clear up my skin, and lessen the severity of my periods. My only complaint is that over time (about 8 years now) it seems to have diminished my libido somewhat… I’m thinking about going off it soon but am terrified that I’ll be a bitchy, horomonal, sex-crazed zit-face….like high school all over again! NOOOOOO….!!!!!!

nocountry2's avatar

Ps….good for you for looking out for your niece.

SuperMouse's avatar

I have two teen-aged nieces who would very possibly come to me with that question. My first response would be “Are you sure you are ready to make such a huge commitment?” (to the guy she was interested in, not to the birth control). My second comment would be one simple sentence “Don’t ever let anyone make you do anything you don’t feel comfortable with.” Next, I would encourage her to visit Planned Parenthood and learn as much as she can about the different types of birth control available, once she is armed with this information, she can make a decision based on what she thinks is best for her. I would offer to accompany her if she felt like she needed that. Finally, I would point out the importance of SAFE SEX, it is just too dangerous not to use a condom, or, along with her partner, be tested for HIV and other STD’s prior to having sex. Oh, and I’m pretty sure I would tell her mother (my sister), I KNOW my sister wouldn’t let her know I shared this information, but it is too important for her not to know what her daughter is considering.

As for other aspects of being on the pill, it is very well documented that being on the pill for an extended period actually decreases a woman’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer. There is something to be said for that, especially if there is a family history.

Wow, that got long.

susanc's avatar

She needs to talk with her ma. Why would she be talking this over with her uncle first?
Can you help her talk to her ma? Can you go with her to Planned Parenthood?
Good for you good for you good for you. But don’t make a triangle.

buster's avatar

use the pill. it works great. if she dont want a baby then take the pill or shot or patch. condoms break.

deaddolly's avatar

The pill. The kind that limits your period to 4 times a year is wonderful.

And tell her to use condoms…

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