Lena Dunham’s Op-Ed Is a Reminder That Birth Control Is So Much More Than Pregnancy Prevention – Shape Magazine

It goes without saying that birth control is a very polarizing (and political) women's health topic. And Lena Denham is not shy about discussing eitherwomen's health andpolitics, that is. So when the star pens an op-ed for The New York Times about the role of birth control in her life and why it's important to preserve our access to it, the Internet listens.

Dunham has always been super open about her struggle with endometriosis (and the fact that she's now endometriosis "free"), but her new opinion piece outlines exactly how birth control has helped her manage her condition. Specifically, that, "losing birth control could mean a life of pain."

That's the thingwhile we use the colloquial term"birth control" or "the Pill," what we really mean is hormonal contraception, and those hormones can do a lot more than just prevent unintended pregnancy. In fact, for about 30 percent of women, the reason to go on the Pill has absolutely nothing to do with avoiding pregnancy, says Lauren Streicher, M.D., associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and author of Sex Rx. "Their primary reason for taking it isn't to prevent pregnancy, it's for all of the other things that it does," she saysaka "off-label" uses. While "off-label" might conjure thoughts of the black market or illegal drug use, these are totally legit reasons for docs to prescribe the Pill, says Dr. Streicher.

Just like Dunham, countless women turn to birth controlor, "hormonal regulation pills," as Dr. Streicher suggests we should call themto manage everything fromhorrible PMS andacne toendometriosis or uterine fibroids. "There are so many non-contraceptive benefits, so when you call it 'birth control' people lose sight of that," says Dr. Streicher.(BTW, while other hormonal contraceptive methodssuch as the shot or hormonal IUDsmay offer some non-contraceptive benefits too, oral pills are usually what's prescribed to women who are suffering from any of the below health issues or who need the hormone-regulating benefits.)

And that list of these non-contraceptive benefits is pretty freaking long. Take a look for yourself:

So for anyone out there fighting ormarching for women's rights, including access to affordable birth control, just remember that it's not merely birth control. That little pillis so much more powerful than that. And depriving some women access to that potentially life-saving drug is taking away one of their best tools for coping with these seriousand commonhealth issues.

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Lena Dunham's Op-Ed Is a Reminder That Birth Control Is So Much More Than Pregnancy Prevention - Shape Magazine

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