More Myths About the Pill

(VTV Breakfast: April 25, 2000)

Due to the feedback received from our last segment, here are some more of the most common misconceptions people have about the pill:

1. When starting oral contraception, you are protected from pregnancy as soon as you take one pill.

This is simply untrue. Although pharmaceutical companies may like to advertise that their product works immediately, your body needs time to adjust to the pill. Most doctors and family planning clinics advise that you take a full cycle of pills (1 month) before abandoning your former method of birth control. Remember to still use condoms, however, since the pill won’t give you any protection from STDs.

2. The pill will affect your ability to get pregnant in the future.

Once you’re off the pill, it will not affect your fertility, and your body should return to its normal cycle within three months.

3. It is OK to smoke while on the pill.

Not true. Smoking puts your health at serious risk. Using the pill at the same time increases that risk. The older you are, the greater your risk. Don’t smoke period, but especially if you’re on the pill.

4. The pill causes acne.

In fact, oral contraception may actually improve acne. If you’re concerned about acne, talk to your doctor, but the pill will definitely not make it worse.

5. The pill causes cancer.

There are some studies that suggest that in a very small group of women the pill may uncover breast cancer earlier than it would otherwise be found. But overall, the pill does not increase your risk of breast cancer and may also lower your risk of cancer of the ovaries and uterus. Ask your doctor for more info.