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How Can Birth Control Pills Affect A Woman's Life

Do you use birth control pills? And have you been feeling a little low - not in the mood? Then, your birth control pills may be the reason. Yes, some birth control pills can have a direct impact on women's sex drive and may cause you to have a low sex drive. But, how much of it is factual? Let's find out.

Pills Can Improve Your Skin But Maybe Not Your Sex Drive

Birth control pills can help improve your skin and even regulate your periods but it can hamper your desire to have sex, affecting your mental state during sex and even restricting your ability to achieve orgasm.

Like any other type of medication, birth control pills too have certain side effects, with low sex drive being the most dismal one. Most birth control pills contain the female hormones oestrogen and progestin and are called combined pills. These pills can lower your testosterone (the hormone responsible for sexual desire), thereby lowering one's sex drive [1] .

According to a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, it was pointed out that women who use birth control pills had four times the amount of SHBG than women who had never used it. SHBG is sex hormone-binding globulin which binds the testosterone in your body and limiting the circulation in your body. This, consequently, may play a central role in diminishing the sex drive of women who uses pills [2] .

Some of the other side effects of birth control pills are nausea, bloating, breast tenderness, and mood swings [3] .

Research Says In Some It May Increase The Sex Drive

With thousands of research being done and still being carried out to clearly understand the impact of birth control pills on women's sex drive it, it can be pointed out that while in some it does decrease the sex drive, in some it has been shown to increase it.

Sharanya Thomas, who have been using birth control pills for the past one year said to Boldsky, "Well, it did affect my moods during the initial periods. But with time, I haven't had any side effects apart from the occasional breast tenderness. Now that I remember it, a friend of mine told me some time ago that the birth control pills that she was using elevated her sex drive."

And this has been supported by doctors too, who asserted that some women who have been using the hormonal birth control have noticed an increase in their sex drive [4] [5] . The studies also point out that, finding the right pill can take time as one needs to find the one that will be suitable for the body as well as the mind (that's important).

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It May Not Be Just The Birth Control Pill

The idea that birth control pills cause low sex drive has been around for a long time, prompting researchers to examine the reason behind it. One of the major reasons behind this is the combination of the two hormones in the pills that directly causes the testosterone levels to go down.

Studies say that it is not just the hormones (or the pills) that plays the central role in assessing the sex drive of women. Factors such as body image, physiological responses, comfort with your partner, emotions, stress level, relationship status and attitudes about intimacy can also pose as limitations [6] [7] .

Regaining Your Sex Drive

Lifestyle changes can help you get your drive back and they are as follows [8] :

● Choose plant-based proteins like nuts, beans, fish etc.

● Stop eating junk food.

● Eat foods rich in zinc such as almonds, chicken, pumpkin seeds etc.

● Include dark chocolate in your diet.

Some of the other, more serious measures are mentioned below [9] [10] .

● Consider switching to another pill that works better with your body.

● Consider switching to an IUD.

● Use lubrication.

● Talk with your doctor and check for any underlying causes.

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On A Final Note...

While for some women birth control pills cause a low sex drive, for some it has been shown to improve their sexual desire and orgasms. The best way is to choose the right kind of birth control pill that suits your body and mind, so choose wisely!

View Article References
  1. [1] Eig, J. (2016). The birth of the pill: How four pioneers reinvented sex and launched a revolution. Pan Macmillan.
  2. [2] Boozalis, M. A., Tutlam, N. T., Robbins, C. C., & Peipert, J. F. (2016). Sexual desire and hormonal contraception. Obstetrics and gynecology, 127(3), 563.
  3. [3] Cacchioni, T. (2015). The medicalization of sexual deviance, reproduction, and functioning. In Handbook of the Sociology of Sexualities (pp. 435-452). Springer, Cham
  4. [4] Grøntvedt, T. V., Grebe, N. M., Kennair, L. E. O., & Gangestad, S. W. (2017). Estrogenic and progestogenic effects of hormonal contraceptives in relation to sexual behavior: Insights into extended sexuality. Evolution and Human Behavior, 38(3), 283-292.
  5. [5] Mark, K. P., Leistner, C. E., & Garcia, J. R. (2016). Impact of contraceptive type on sexual desire of women and of men partnered to contraceptive users. The journal of sexual medicine, 13(9), 1359-1368.
  6. [6] Cobey, K. D., Havlíček, J., Klapilová, K., & Roberts, S. C. (2016). Hormonal contraceptive use during relationship formation and sexual desire during pregnancy. Archives of sexual behavior, 45(8), 2117-2122.
  7. [7] Burrows, L. J., Basha, M., & Goldstein, A. T. (2012). The effects of hormonal contraceptives on female sexuality: a review. The journal of sexual medicine, 9(9), 2213-2223.
  8. [8] Davis, A. R., & Castaño, P. M. (2004). Oral contraceptives and libido in women. Annual review of sex research, 15(1), 297-320.
  9. [9] -Espada, N. M., de Alarcón, R., de la Iglesia-Larrad, J. I., Bote-Bonaechea, B., & Montejo, Á. L. (2019). Hormonal Contraceptives, Female Sexual Dysfunction, and Managing Strategies: A Review. Journal of clinical medicine, 8(6), 908.
  10. [10] Lu, C. F., Vargas, S. E., Guillen, M., Ramirez, J. J., Carbone, S. L., Getz, M. L., ... & Hill, M. (2019). A Qualitative Study of the Contraceptive Effect on Women's Sexual Experiences: Beyond Hormonal Effects. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 134(1), 91-101.