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As wonderful as it is to be a woman, there's no denying that monthly periods suck.

Not only do women have to deal with awful side-effects such as cramping, bloating, food craving, and sometimes unexpected leaks - but other health problems related to hormonal imbalance such as headaches, acne, and period pains can drive us up the wall.

And so women go to great lengths to avert all the extra “baggage” menstruation comes with - one of which is using contraception. No, not for avoiding pregnancy as is commonly assumed, but for avoiding a multitude of hormonal side-effects from the hormonal changes.

We compiled a list of reasons - less reproductively inclined - why women use contraception, and the benefits thereof:

No more pain

Birth control pills and other forms of hormonal birth control (for example patch, vaginal ring, injection, hormone-releasing intrauterine device and contraceptive implant) also represent effective treatments for women with dysmenorrhoea (painful periods), Professors Roger Smith and Andrew Kaunitz say in a peer reviewed article published in UpToDate, a medical information resource. 

"These treatments work by thinning the lining of the uterus, where prostaglandins are formed, thereby decreasing the uterine contractions and menstrual bleeding that contribute to pain and cramping.”

Irregular periods

One month you might start your period on the 16th day and the next at the end of the month, and then sometimes periods don’t start at all. Two months later they’re back with a vengeance. Sound familiar? According to an online medical portal, WebMD, a plethora of things can cause irregular periods and the body’s changing levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone can disrupt the “normal pattern of your period”.  Apart from preventing pregnancy many women 

use birth control pills to regulate irregular periods by controlling hormone levels.

Hormones for headaches

The Migraine Trust suggests that migraines can be triggered by a drop in your oestrogen levels. Such headaches naturally occur in the time just before your period and in the later phase of the menstrual cycle.

The trust says: “If your migraine is associated with premenstrual syndrome you might find that the combined oral contraceptive pill or the injectable contraceptive can help reduce migraine at this time in your cycle. As these hormones switch off the normal menstrual cycle, the natural fall in oestrogen does not occur so premenstrual migraine should be alleviated or reduced.”

Get rid of acne

Acne – particularly severe acne – can adversely affect a woman’s self-confidence levels. No one wants to walk into a room full of people and the first thing they do is avert their eyes out of sympathy for the amount of acne on your face. Dermatologists routinely prescribe contraception for women affected by acne. And according to WebMD, it is typically started after other treatments such as topical creams and oral antibiotics fail to clear the skin.

Lighten that flow

Changing a sanitary towel or tampon every hour because of a heavy flow is neither ideal nor abnormal. Again, hormonal contraceptives like birth control pills or intrauterine devices (IUDs) are widely used to lighten the amount of bleeding.