While most people know that hormonal birth control pills are a highly effective way to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, they also offer additional benefits. In fact, many women are prescribed birth control even if they aren't sexually active, in order to experience these health benefits. Here are five benefits of birth control pills besides pregnancy prevention:

Acne Treatment

Many women find that birth control helps lessen or even get rid of their acne, particularly if they experience painful cystic acne. Since cystic acne is often related to fluctuating hormone levels, evening out your hormones with birth control can lead to much clearer skin.

Lower Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Birth control pills are linked to significantly lower risk of developing ovarian cancer. In fact, studies have shown that women who take birth control pills for five years or longer have a 50% lower chance of developing ovarian cancer in their lifetime. This is thought to be because birth control suppresses ovulation.

Treatment for Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a frequently painful condition that sometimes leads to infertility. When you have endometriosis, tissue from the lining of your uterus begins to grow outside your uterus, for example in your fallopian tubes.

When your hormones signal to your body each month that it's time to shed the uterine lining, the endometrial tissue outside the uterus also tries to shed, causing painful periods and in some cases adhesions and scar tissue. Birth control is one of the most effective ways for stopping endometriosis from getting more serious and preventing the painful side effects.

Helps with Heavy, Painful Periods

For many women, hormonal birth control provides relief from chronically heavy, painful periods. While you will still have a period on most birth control pills, it will most likely be much lighter and not involve much cramping, if any. This can be a very big deal to those who have experienced painful periods for years.

Lower Risk of Anemia

If you are anemic, you have low iron levels, which in many women are related to blood loss from heavy periods. Anemia can cause fatigue, lightheadedness, frequent headaches, and other symptoms. In this case, your doctor may wish for you to treat your anemia by going on birth control pills and therefore having lighter, less severe periods.

It's always a good idea to talk to an OBGYN, like those at Healthcare for Women Only, if you have questions about birth control and are wondering if it's the right option for you.