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Do Birth Control Pills Help with Your Acne?

The female hormonal system responsible for birthing is intricate and complex to understand for everyone. It is important to understand that the body is equipped to deal with situations after an event of unsuccessful fertilization. This process is called menstruation, which works beautifully every month. 

 

The system begins with the pituitary gland in the brain secreting a hormone signaling the ovaries, which then begin to develop eggs. Oestrogen, the female hormone, is secreted by the eggs and is responsible for developing the uterine bed or lining and making it ready for a prospective pregnancy. One of these developing eggs then ovulates, which signals the ovary to secrete the progesterone hormone. This hormone is responsible for strengthening the uterine bed. 

 

In the event of a failed fertilization, the hormonal levels fall, and the uterine lining is shed, which is released as blood. This cycle continues all over again. Now that we understand the roles of these hormones during a menstrual cycle, we understand that pregnancy pills modulate these levels to lead to an event of unsuccessful fertilization. This further proves that due to hormonal changes, the acne outburst caused due to hormonal imbalance has found a solution in these pregnancy pills.

 

What is birth control?

 

Birth control or contraception is a method of preventing pregnancy. Multiple contraceptives are available over the counter or by prescription, which also differs based on their functions and benefits. Due to their discerning functions and benefits, their effectiveness in resolving various health issues is also diverse. While some contraceptives are responsible for chemical changes, others act as physical barriers that prevent eggs from fertilizing inside the body. Physical contraception is more effective in preventing sexually transmitted diseases but may not be as effective in preventing pregnancies.

 

How do pregnancy pills work?

 

The birth control pill, or the “pregnancy pill," is an oral contraception that needs to be taken daily. It is reported to be 99% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies. Being consistent and regular in taking birth control pills helps control fluctuations in the hormonal levels in women. It is composed of hormones responsible for causing changes in how the body functions, thus preventing pregnancy. These hormones primarily regulate the balance of progesterone and estrogen, leading to an unsuccessful pregnancy.

 

Most of these birth control pills are "combination pills" that contain both the hormones estrogen and progesterone that helps in the prevention of ovulation. In the absence of any egg, fertilization cannot take place.

 

Some groups of pills also work to change the composition of the mucus around the cervix by thickening it, making it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus. Such birth control pills prevent it from reaching any eggs and fertilizing them. 

 

Some pills are Progesterone-only which means it contains only one hormone that sometimes targets the uterine lining, making it difficult for an egg to attach to the wall and develop into an embryo. This is a healthier option for many breastfeeding women with previous medical records of blood clots and strokes.

 

Benefits of pregnancy pills:

 

Some women take pregnancy pills for health purposes. Pregnancy or birth control pills offer the following health benefits:

  1. Restore a healthy menstrual cycle
  2. Help prevent anemia by making the period flow lighter 
  3. Relieve menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)
  4. Help manage premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysmorphic disorder (PMDD)
  5. Medication option for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  6. Endometriosis or uterine fibroids can be treated
  7. Reduce the chances of ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, and colon cancer
  8. Helps improve hormonal acne
  9. Helps prevent excessive hair growth

 

Birth control pills for acne:

 

Women also produce male hormones, or androgens, in small amounts in their blood. Sometimes, these are produced in high quantities due to external stress or bodily imbalance. This condition leads to acne and hirsutism (increased male pattern hair growth).

 

As birth control pills contain female hormones, they help decrease or reinstate the hormonal balance associated with these free androgens. Thus, they help control acne outbreaks and decrease facial hair growth. However, this is not the only treatment method, as acne is caused by different reasons that require appropriate treatments. Treatment options for acne include antibiotics and skin ointments that help control the over-production of oil and sebum on the skin. This comes across as an effective method to control hormonal acne as it helps reduce androgen levels produced by the female body. 

Medanta Medical Team
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