Facts behind the common birth control myths
Facts behind the common birth control myths

Facts behind the common birth control myths

The field of contraception and gynecology has advanced. One very crucial component of this field is birth control. Right from condoms and pills to IUD (Intrauterine Device), there are plenty of methods to ensure that there is no occurrence of unwanted pregnancy. Even so, there are plenty of misconceptions revolving around the usage of birth control. To ensure that you are not a victim of these myths, here are the ones you need to steer clear away from.

Myth 1: You do not need to practice birth control while you are on breastfeeding

One of the most common myths around birth control is that you do not need to adopt it if you are breastfeeding. As per Mary Jane Minkin, who is the M.D at obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University, it is perhaps one of the biggest reasons behind unwanted pregnancies. The reason is that while you are on breastfeeding, the hormones generated from the pituitary gland get suppressed. These are responsible for ovulation. However, this is not the case all the time, so it is advisable to stick to a birth control method even when you are breastfeeding.

Myth 2: The birth control pill needs to be taken at the same time every day

As per Vanessa Cullins, the M.D of External Medical Affairs at Planned Parenthood, there is no connection between the efficiency of a birth control pill and the time you consume it. This myth only holds true if you are consuming the mini pill. This pill is a progestin which needs to be taken at the same time every day. For people who take birth control pills which are a mix of both progestin and estrogen, this would make no sense.

Myth 3: Getting an IUD makes sense only when you have had children

If you need a super-effective way to control your pregnancy, then consulting your gynecologist about an IUD (Intrauterine device) is very useful. While there are certain forms of IUD such as Mirena and ParaGard which are ideal for women who have given birth, there are other forms available which are ideal for women who have never conceived in life. Some IUDs are larger than others and are more suited to women who have already given birth. This might be the reason for this myth.

Myth 4: Using birth control to skip periods is not safe

It may seem really manipulative to challenge your monthly flow by consuming two months worth of pills each day back to back. However, the truth is that it is completely safe if you are healthy. If you do not have a high blood pressure problem and you are not over 35 years then you can consume birth control pills to delay your monthly cycle when you want.

Finally, do remember to check-in with your doctor before starting any new birth control or switching between birth control methods.

4 misconceptions about contraceptives
4 misconceptions about contraceptives

4 misconceptions about contraceptives

There is a lot of information as well as misinformation on birth control. More often than not, it is hard to distinguish between the two. Here are 4 myths on birth control that need to be debunked immediately.

Birth control keeps you safe from sexually transmitted diseases

This myth is perhaps one of the most important ones that need to be debunked. Firstly, the only thing that can protect people from sexually transmitted diseases or sexually transmitted infections, including HIV(Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the use of condoms.

There is no other form of contraceptive that provides complete protection against sexually transmitted diseases the way a condom does. Hence, as per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, condoms must be used consistently and adequately during active sexual contact, so that you do not suffer from an STI.

Using a condom is perhaps the safest way for preventing pregnancy

Contrary to popular belief, condoms are only an adequate way to prevent men and women from getting a sexually transmitted infection. Even so, it is not the ideal way to keep pregnancy at bay. A study shows that only 98% efficacy can be achieved with a condom when it comes to prevention of pregnancy. However, in most cases, people do not end up using the condom the right way.

Hence, the rate goes down to almost 85%. If you want a better hang of the situation, then here is what you should know. Out of every 100 women who use a condom in birth control, two to fifteen will become pregnant during the first year that they start using it. As per experts, the best way of birth control is adopting a birth control implant or getting an intrauterine contraceptive device.

Pulling out is an effective way of birth control

A lot of people practice withdrawal or “pulling out”. It is not a recommended way of birth control at all. As per a study, it is only 78% effective. This percentage reflects that out of every 100 women, 22 of them will get pregnant each year in case this is the only method they use for birth control. While withdrawal is considered to be better than not using any other method at all, it is definitely not the only method you should rely upon.

Using birth control will leave you infertile

Finally, this is one of the biggest misconceptions that sees most women skip birth control. Most people feel that getting pregnant after going off birth control can be quite tough. However, while a woman can take a few months to get back to her regular menstrual cycle, it will not hamper her ability to conceive in the long run.

With so much awareness about birth control around the world, you can definitely refrain from encountering unwanted pregnancies. With the right kind of birth control, you can maintain a healthy sexual life and keep at par with your life plan.

Common myths about birth control debunked
Common myths about birth control debunked

Common myths about birth control debunked

The birth control pill was approved in the 1960s. Ever since then, it has become one of the most researched forms of medication in medical history. Although, women have become a lot more aware ever since the pill was introduced, there are still plenty of myths that exist. To that effect, the following article is all about debunking common myths about birth control:

Myth 1: Birth control pills aid weight gain
This is the first myth you will come across when you talk about birth control. While we do not deny that some women may gain weight while on the pill, there are research studies that have proven that there is no direct connection between the two.

The reason behind weight gain is more or less bloating. It is the estrogen in the pill which can cause bloating. However, this goes away with time. Additionally, there is also progestin in the pill which can cause you to eat more than usual. This might lead to slight weight gain but nothing major that cannot be controlled with healthy eating and exercise. Moreover, many women start the pill in their 30s which is a time when they normally gain weight as part of the process of aging.

Myth 2: You need to have birth control pills intermittently

There is literally no medical reason for a fit woman to use a birth pill intermittently. It is completely alright to take the birth pill for as long as you would like. We would recommend consulting your gynecologist for a proper dosage that would suit you.

Additionally, doctors also advise that you should keep reviewing your contraceptive needs and accordingly take the birth pills. Medical experts suggest that you should reconsider your birth control consumption pattern after the age of 35.

Myth 3: Using the pill over a long duration may result in fertility issues
Much like the myths mentioned above, there is absolutely no association between long term pill usage and fertility problems. Fertility normally resumes as soon as you are off the pill. If you have fertility issues due to other problems like irregular periods due to PCOS then do speak to your doctor.

Also, most birth control pills are blamed for infertility as women tend to stop them late in life when they are already in their late 30s and their fertility is naturally on the decline. This is nothing but a misconception. The birth control pill or the duration for which it was consumed has no impact on your fertility.

In case you do not understand how a birth control pill actually works, then there are chances that you may misuse it. In this case, it can have adverse effects on your health and you may even end up with an unwanted pregnancy. It is always best to take a birth control pill that has been prescribed by your own physician.

4 asthma triggers you probably didn’t know about
4 asthma triggers you probably didn’t know about

4 asthma triggers you probably didn’t know about

Many know of the external factors that trigger asthma but only a few know that emotional stress can also trigger episodes of asthma. In fact, any extreme emotion may lead to an onset of asthma. These could be emotions of sadness or even excessive joy. This is why people suffering from asthma often try to contain their emotions.

Some of the uncommon emotional triggers of asthma include:

  • Emotional events

In a single experiment, researchers measured a section of the lung and how it functions after showing people pictures depicting extreme emotions. It was proven that people in the study group who looked at the images of injuries, catastrophes, and sad events found it harder to breathe than others.

Later, the people from the same group were asked to rate their moods thrice a day. This experiment continued for three weeks. Here, the lung functioning was measured with the help of a peak flow meter. While the study was significantly small, it reflected that negative emotions could deteriorate the functioning of the lungs. Additionally, it was observed that it was even worse for asthmatic patients to endure over the long run.

  • Stressful events

There have been many studies conducted which showed that severe life events were often associated with asthma attacks. Children and adults were admitted for asthma complications around the time they faced serious life issues. Additionally, it was also observed that everybody involved in the study, irrespective of them having asthma or not, reported having aggravated respiratory symptoms.

  • Ongoing depression and panic attacks

It has also been observed that both anxiety and depression are a lot more commonly found in people who are affected by asthma. Patients who have a mental health disorder along with asthma may have no to little control over their asthma symptoms and frequent asthma attacks, Moreover, they are more likely to visit the emergency department.

In some cases, even panic attacks may be very tough to endure. They may be accompanied by asthma attacks and can be a sudden trigger to the symptoms.

  • Severe depression

Sometimes, it is also tough to prevent asthma attacks if you have chronic stress. For instance, children who get stressed easily are more likely to have asthma attacks. In adults, when the patient is stressed, it could lead to a deteriorated quality of life. It has also been observed that patients who have stress hormones for a long time can suffer because of sensitive airways. These airways are more sensitive to pollutants, infections, and allergens.

Steps to take for reduction of stress and management of emotions

  • Start by identifying the stress triggers and avoiding them
  • Exercise regularly
  • Go for breathing and relaxation techniques as often as possible
  • Maintain a healthy and balanced diet
  • Seek counseling or therapy for depression and anxiety
5 common asthma triggers you should know about
5 common asthma triggers you should know about

5 common asthma triggers you should know about

As per statistics, one out of every thirteen people suffers from asthma. If you are also one of them or are acquainted with somebody who is affected with asthma, here are some common asthma triggers you should know of. Knowing about the possible triggers can help you prevent serious incidents from taking place.

  • Tobacco smoke

As we all know, smoking tobacco is one of the most unhealthy habits to have. It is extremely harmful to everybody, especially those who have asthma. This not only harms the people smoking it but also those around them, especially if they have asthma. In fact, passive smoking is one of the most common asthma triggers that you should know about. For people who have asthma, staying away from places that have high exposure to secondhand smoke is highly advisable.

  • Dust mites

Dust mites are extremely tiny bugs which are found in nearly every home. For people with asthma, dust mites can be one of the biggest triggers. In order to prevent attacks due to dust mites, use clean mattress covers as well as pillow covers. Your sheets should be cleaned at least once a week and washed in hot water. In case, you have too many stuffed toys, decluttering your bedding often and dusting these would also be helpful.

  • Cockroaches
    Although this is a lesser-known fact, cockroaches can be one of the biggest triggers for asthma attacks. Their droppings can cause major respiratory problems. To avoid this, call a professional to get rid of cockroaches in the house. You can also start by removing any exposed food and water sources as far as possible. Cockroaches are mainly found loitering in places where crumbs are left behind. Additionally, you should thoroughly vacuum the whole area and use gels or traps to get rid of cockroaches.
  • Air pollution
    One of the most common asthma triggers is in fact pollution. Cars, factories, and other sources of smoke play a huge role in the contribution to this. We recommend that you get a mask to protect your nose while you travel in highly polluted areas. Try to avoid going to industrial areas completely.
  • Furry pets
    Here is some sad news for all pet lovers. People who suffer from asthma should stay away from furry animals. Pet fur and even feces can trigger an asthma episode. Common household pets such as dogs and cats are known to trigger asthma. Consult a doctor before you decide to house a pet, as this could lead to severe complications.

In order to avoid any serious instances, always keep an inhaler with you. It is always better to avoid attacks before they become life-threatening. With knowledge about the aforementioned common asthma triggers, you can handle your or your loved ones’ asthma in a much more effective manner.

Asthma and its triggers
Asthma and its triggers

Asthma and its triggers

For people who suffer from asthma, one of their biggest nightmares is to come across asthma triggers. There are many common asthma triggers and each affects patients differently.

Here are some triggers that may surprise you:

  • Mold
    Breathing in mold can trigger an asthma episode. Inspect your house regularly for the growth of mold. Depending on the humidity and moisture in the air, mold can grow in various places. A dehumidifier or an air conditioner is one of the best ways to keep humidity under control. Additionally, you can also use a hygrometer so that the humidity levels don’t go higher than 50%. It is also recommended to fix the water leaks, which may lead to the growth of mold behind walls or under floors.
  • Smoke exuded from burning plants
    The smoke that comes from plants or burning wood is made up of very small particles and harmful gases. When you breathe in too much of this smoke, you can get an asthma attack. It is one of the most common triggers that only a few know about. Avoid wood-burning entirely and if a wildfire causes poor quality of air in the area, keep a check on the news to avoid those areas.
  • Physical infections
    Physical infections can also trigger asthma. These may be triggers associated with influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and even cold. Additionally, allergies, sinus infections, and acid reflux can result in an asthma attack as well.

In some cases, external physical factors can be the main trigger for asthma. This may include bad weather, high humidity, or even thunderstorms.

  • Medicines
    There are certain medicines which may trigger your asthma. It is recommended to avoid the use of over-the-counter medicines as much as possible. However, if you want to consume certain medications, consult your physician and take their opinion.

    Medications that could trigger your asthma include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin, and beta-blockers. Moreover, never stop any medicine suddenly; always consult your doctor.

  • Additional medical factors

Sometimes, the intake of sulfites in your diet could also trigger asthma attacks. Additionally, undergoing hormonal changes in different stages of the menstrual cycle can also be a cause of concern. Rarely, gastric issues like GERD and acid reflux may also be the reason for asthma attacks in some people.

If you know somebody who suffers from asthma or if you are suffering from the condition, keep a check of your surroundings. Stay away from these common triggers as much as you can to improve your quality of life.

Hepatitis – types and contributing factors
Hepatitis – types and contributing factors

Hepatitis – types and contributing factors
Hepatitis is described as an inflammation in the liver. Inflammation is essentially any tissue’s natural response to injury or irritation, and the general effects of inflammation are swelling, redness, and pain.

There is a wide range of causes of the condition, but they differ based on the type of hepatitis that one is affected with. For example, various types of viral hepatitis involve viral infections rather than any other disorder in the body. Hepatitis can be acute or chronic depending on the severity, and there are various types:


  • Hepatitis A
    This type of hepatitis does not result in chronic infections and typically involves no complications. It is one of the most common food-borne infections, and the liver takes approximately two months to properly heal from hepatitis A. In rare cases, hepatitis A can lead to liver failure, which can be fatal. The most common prevention method for hepatitis A is vaccination.
  • Hepatitis B
    Above 70% of all diagnosed occurrences of hepatitis B have been found in young people from the age of 15 to 39. It usually takes people 6 months to completely recover from the illness, but some may suffer from a life-long, chronic infection, which leads to ongoing liver damage. If an individual contracts hepatitis B at an early age, it has a higher chance of becoming chronic.
  • Hepatitis C
    Hepatitis C is among the most common causes of liver disease in the country and also the biggest reason for people to get a liver transplant. Around 80% of patients suffering from hepatitis C develop a chronic liver infection as it is difficult to diagnose hepatitis C because it comes with no noticeable symptoms. Unlike the other types, there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C.

Contributing factors to the development of hepatitis

Contributing factors are simple incidents, habits, or occurrences that can increase one’s chances of contracting hepatitis. These factors can range from trivial occurrences to an unhealthy habit or even major existing illnesses. Here are the main contributing factors for hepatitis A, B, and C:

Hepatitis A

Any person can develop hepatitis A by dietary means, that is, by eating food and drinking water that has been contaminated with the virus. This implies that any person with unhygienic eating or drinking habits could suffer from hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B

Multiple factors can elevate one’s chances of contracting hepatitis B. Here are the common risk factors of this type:

  • Being sexually intimate with a person who is already infected
  • Sharing contaminated needles
  • Having direct contact with the blood of an infected person
  • Suffering injuries from needles
  • Inheritance of an unborn child from an infected mother

Hepatitis C
Any person can contract hepatitis C by the following:

  • Sharing contaminated objects like needles
  • Having direct contact with infected blood or blood transfusion from an infected person
  • Injuries caused by infected needle sticks
Contributing factors for hepatitis in children
Contributing factors for hepatitis in children

Contributing factors for hepatitis in children
The liver is the body’s largest organ. It is a vital help in digesting food, storing energy, and eliminating toxins. Hepatitis is described as a condition where the liver experiences inflammation, which is, essentially, a tissue’s reaction to injury or irritation.

Most cases of hepatitis are a result of being infected with viruses, and the types of hepatitis are named after the virus that is responsible for it. In some cases, the patient’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy liver cells, which leads to liver damage, among many other liver issues. Any of the types of hepatitis can affect people of all ages. Here are some contributing factors that lead to hepatitis in children. Understanding these can help in preventing the transmission and in maintaining hygiene:

Hepatitis A
The virus that causes hepatitis A is usually present in fecal matter. It can infect children in the following ways:

  • Eating food cooked by an infected person who failed to properly wash their hands after going to the bathroom
  • Drinking water that has been contaminated by infected feces
  • Coming into direct or indirect contact with an infected person’s feces
  • Traveling to areas with a common occurrence of hepatitis A
  • Infections during blood transfusions

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is usually transmitted through blood and the most common way in which people contract this type is when an infected person’s blood is introduced into another person’s bloodstream. Getting injured through needle sticks and sharp instruments can also lead to hepatitis B. Another common way through which people contract hepatitis B is by sharing items of personal use like toothbrushes and razors with an infected person. If an expecting mother has hepatitis B, her baby may develop the illness. Children can contract this disease through cuts, scrapes, and different types of contact. Here’s a list of the children with a higher chance of developing hepatitis B:

  • Children born to women who live in countries with higher occurrences of hepatitis B
  • Children who have to live in care facilities for prolonged periods as outbreaks may result from unhygienic conditions
  • Children suffering from blood-clotting issues and need blood products
  • Children who have to undergo dialysis

Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is probably one of the most dangerous types of hepatitis and usually spreads through blood taken from an infected source. Another way of transmission of the disease is sexual contact. Expecting mothers suffering from hepatitis C deal with a great deal of risk that endangers the health of both the mother and the child. Here’s a list of children who are highly susceptible to hepatitis C:

  • Children born to mothers who are infected with the hepatitis C virus
  • Children suffering from blood-related issues like hemophilia or those who require blood transfusions
  • Children suffering from kidney failure and those requiring dialysis
  • Teenagers indulging in activities like intravenous drug use and unprotected intercourse
Causes, Risk Factors, and Prevention of Multiple Myeloma
Causes, Risk Factors, and Prevention of Multiple Myeloma

Our bodies are made up of different kinds of cells. Blood cells are an important type of cell that is further bifurcated into three parts, namely white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Each type of blood cell plays an essential role in the human body. Red blood cells remove carbon dioxide from the body and carry oxygen to the tissues. Platelets prevent bleeding by forming blood clots. While blood cells are an essential part of the immune system and help fight infection and protect the body from foreign substances. There are several types of white blood cells. B lymphocytes are a type of white blood cells that become plasma cells upon identifying antigens in the body.

Plasma cells and multiple myeloma
Plasma cells produce antibodies that fight antigens, otherwise known as harmful foreign substances. These cells are normally present in the bone marrow in a limited number, but they can turn into a tumor upon abnormal cell multiplication. The tumor can turn cancerous and may cause multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. While scientists do not know the exact cause of multiple myeloma, they have conducted studies on how certain DNA changes can cause the plasma cells to turn cancerous and form a tumor.

Multiple myeloma can lead to a loss of red blood cells, causing anemia. It can also decrease the number of platelets in the blood, which causes increased bleeding and bruising. Multiple myeloma even causes a shortage of white blood cells that leads to problems in fighting infections.

Medical researchers and doctors who have been studying multiple myeloma are looking for a cure and methods to prevent this disease. Preventing it becomes less challenging when one knows the risk factors and early signs of cancer. Identifying the risk factors and taking the right measures to eliminate the risk can be an effective way to prevent multiple myeloma.

Risk factors
Obesity and family history are some common risk factors seen in most cases of multiple myeloma. People with a history of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) can also be at an increased risk of developing the disease. Exposure to radiation is another factor that can increase the risk of multiple myeloma.

As people get older, they may face an increased risk of developing multiple myeloma as most reported cases of this disease have been among people over the age of 65.

Along with age, gender and race also play a role in increasing one’s risk of developing cancer as men are slightly more prone to this disease than women. Additionally, this disease is more common among African Americans than Caucasians.

Preventive measures

Preventing the progression of MGUS: As MGUS increases an individual’s risk of developing multiple myeloma, one can implement measures to prevent the progression of MGUS to lower the risk of multiple myeloma.

Early screening and diagnosis: An early diagnosis of multiple myeloma can help doctors provide the right treatment, like immunotherapy, to prevent the disease from spreading to other organs.

Targeted therapy: SDF-1stromal cell-derived factor-1 is a strategy that can be used by doctors to prevent the disruptive colonization of the bone marrow by multiple myeloma. But it is important to get an early diagnosis to implement this preventive measure.

Paying attention to signs and symptoms: While the causes of multiple myeloma are not known, there are several signs and symptoms that can be identified for early diagnosis. Below are some common early signs and symptoms that should not be missed.

  • Problems in the bones like bone pain, especially pain in the back, hips, and skull, along with bone weakness, and broken or fractured bones due to minor stress or injury.
  • Problems that arise due to low blood counts like anemia, leukopenia, and thrombocytopenia, where the blood platelet counts are low, causing excess bleeding even in case of minor cuts or bruises.
  • Increased blood levels of calcium, which leads to extreme thirst, excess urination, dehydration, kidney problems, loss of appetite, weakness, and confusion.
  • Signs related to the nervous system like sudden back pain, numbness in legs, muscle weakness, especially weakness in the leg muscles.

Dietary changes: Diet can help prevent or cause a lot of diseases, including cancer. There are several foods that are linked with a lowered risk of multiple myeloma, like cooked tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, foods rich in vitamins, especially vitamin A, and fresh fish.

On the other hand, there are foods that increase one’s risk of developing multiple myeloma. These foods include processed and packaged food, ice creams, cream soups, artificially flavored juices, and artificially sweetened fruits.

So, paying attention to one’s diet is important to combat the risk of developing multiple myeloma. It is also important to list down all the foods one should and should not eat and follow it on a regular basis. People with a high risk of cancer should stop eating red meats and start following a diet that consists of whole foods and fresh fruits. Cutting down on alcohol consumption and smoking can help prevent the development of multiple myeloma.

8 Foods That Trigger Migraine Headaches
8 Foods That Trigger Migraine Headaches

Migraine is a neurological condition that is often accompanied by a host of painful and discomforting symptoms like sensitivity to light, dizziness, and nausea or vomiting. To cope with this, it is important to identify the common triggers of a migraine headache. Studies say that frequently reported migraine triggers are food items, and eliminating these food items, or at least limiting their consumption, is crucial for treatment:

  • Chocolate
    Chocolate is often considered to be a risky migraine trigger and is among the most common triggers as it is replete with caffeine. Chocolate also contains the amino acid tyramine that adds to the intensity of the headaches. However, chocolates also have dopamine and serotonin, which are beneficial, so consuming chocolate in moderation may prove to be beneficial for the treatment.
  • Caffeine
    An occasional cup of coffee does not cause a painful migraine attack, but drinking coffee or caffeinated drinks regularly can worsen the frequency and severity of headaches. Due to its vasoconstrictive properties, caffeine restricts blood flow to the brain, causing relief in the case of a painful headache, but it is best to avoid too much of coffee if you experience frequent headaches.
  • Frozen foods
    Studies show that there is a strong link between frozen foods and migraine headaches. Consumption of frozen foods like ice cream, frozen yogurt, a slush, and such may provoke strong headaches. These items contain substances that affect blood flow to the brain, leading to headaches that develop into migraines.
  • Salty foods
    Salty foods are the most common triggers as high consumption of salty foods raises the sodium levels in your blood and increases blood pressure, which could increase the risk of migraine. Avoid eating too much salt or salty and processed food to prevent it.
  • Pickled and fermented foods
    Pickled and fermented foods contain high levels of tyramine, which may trigger migraine headaches. You can reduce the consumption of pickles, kimchi, pickled veggies like okra and jalapenos, and kombucha to bring down the risk. It is also helpful if you cut down on fermented food items like aged cheese.
  • Cured and processed meat
    Cured and processed meat is often loaded with preservatives like nitrates and nitrites. These compounds cause debilitating headaches as meats like bologna, ham, and such can dilate blood vessels in the head, triggering a migraine.
  • Foods containing monosodium glutamate
    Food items that contain additives like monosodium glutamate are known to trigger headaches. Monosodium glutamate is a widely used ingredient in processed food items like soy sauce and is naturally found in mushrooms and cheese. It causes changes in blood flow to the brain, which, in turn, may lead to migraine attacks.
  • Alcohol
    Avoiding alcoholic drinks is a healthy practice for anyone susceptible to frequent headaches. Consumption of alcohol leads to dehydration, which is one of the most common factors responsible for migraines.

The severity of migraine and the foods that trigger it may vary from person to person. However, avoiding the food items mentioned here can help minimize the risk of a headache.