7 Birth Control Studies That Will Seriously Freak You Out

This shouldn’t surprise anyone who reads this site but, just in case you didn’t know, we’re pretty pro birth control here at Gurl. Or, to be exact, we’re pro sex (if you want to have sex), and we’re pro making sure that this sex is safe. Ergo, we are pro birth control, whether it’s the pill, IUD, condoms, or any other (legitimate) method. (If I were a very cruel person, I would say something deranged as a follow up to this, like, “But we aren’t pros at SEX!” or, even more nefariously, “In fact, one might say that we are pros…at sex!!!” But I am not cruel, so I will not say that.)

But today, we are here to talk about birth control pills. This is a contraceptive method that a lot of people use (I myself am a Tri Previfem user, if you were wondering) but, at the same time, a lot of people tend not to be super well informed about it. And while there are a lot of really great things about the Pill, it’s far from perfect – and anyone interested in taking it should know that. Fortunately, there are a bunch of birth control-related studies that anyone–on birth control or not–can benefit from learning about. So, check out these birth control studies that will freak you out a little:

You Can Get Pregnant Even If You're On Birth Control

Not to freak you out! But the pill has a 99 percent effectiveness rate--when it's used perfectly. Most people don't use it perfectly (which basically just means taking it at the same time every day), which puts its effectiveness down to 91 percent. That's still pretty good! Put it's not perfect. Plus, birth control doesn't protect against STIs, so if you're having sex while on birth control, you should always use a condom, just in case.

Image source: iStock

The Pill Can Kill Your Sex Drive

A study done at University of Heidelberg in Germany in 2010 found that women who take birth control pills are at a higher risk for sexual dysfunction. What this means, basically, is that the pill reduces your desire to have sex. There have since been some other studies that have gotten different results, but you know your body best--if you're on birth control, and you feel like your sex drive has been depleted, try and see if you can find other forms of birth control and see if that helps.

Image source: iStock

It Also Changes Who You're Attracted To

A 2014 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that birth control can actually impact who you are physically attracted to. 118 heterosexual couples in which the woman was taking birth control when they met their partner were surveyed. In the study, women stopped taking birth control pills and found that they felt less attracted to their partner after doing so. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a decrease in attraction was not seen when their partner was more conventionally attractive.

Image source: iStock

The Pill Can Cause "Decreased Quality Of Life"

If you're on birth control, and you feel like it's making feel a little off, somehow, you're not the only one. A study done at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, which studied the effects of hormone birth control in 340 healthy women between 18 and 35, found that many women who took the pill experienced a lack of energy and negative self esteem. So, if you feel like you've been feeling the same type of feelings while taking the pill, talk to your doctor and see if there are any alternative methods of birth control you can go on.

Image source: iStock

You Get Your Period When You're On Birth Control Because Of An Old Catholic Doctor

That's a weird sentence! But it's true. The birth control pill as we know it today is actually due in large part to a doctor named John Rock. Dr. Rock was a devout Catholic--a religion that to this day does not support contraception of any kind--but he strongly advocated for safe sex and contraception. Eventually, he became part of a team that developed contraceptive pills and, while developing the birth control, he decided that women would feel more comfortable taking the pills if they felt "natural"--i.e. helped women maintain their typical menstrual cycle. Because of this, the last week of pills in your birth control pack are totally unnecessary (they're usually just placebo pills) and exist only to make you have your period, because Dr. John Rock thought you should.

Image source: iStock

Birth Control Pills Have Caused Water Pollution

In 2012, scientists in the European Union noticed that there were unusual amounts of pollutants in the water that were causing mutations in some of the marine life there. The cause? Birth control. Or, to be more exact, urination from women who had taken certain types of birth control and whose waste ended up in the water. Scientists weren't certain if it was just birth control or other pollutants causing the issues, though, so don't start suspecting that your pee is toxic just because you're on birth control--if anything, it's just a sign that there needs to be greater environmental protections in place.

Image source: iStock

The Pill Changed America

Before the birth control pill was released in 1960, the typical American woman had 3.7 children. After the pill came out, this number dropped to 1.9 children per woman. This definitely isn't a bad thing--in fact, it's a good thing that there are fewer unintentional pregnancies now--but it's definitely interesting to see how the pill has changed the American landscape.

Image source: iStock

Were you surprised by any of these studies? Which ones? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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