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## Is Birth Control Affected by Scuba Diving?

Scuba diving is a popular recreational activity that involves exploring the underwater world. However, there are some potential health risks associated with scuba diving, including the effects of pressure on the body. One of the questions that women who scuba dive often ask is whether birth control is affected by scuba diving.

## How Birth Control Works

Birth control works by preventing pregnancy. There are many different types of birth control, but they all work in one of two ways:

Preventing ovulation: Ovulation is the process by which an egg is released from the ovary. Once ovulation occurs, the egg can be fertilized by sperm and develop into a pregnancy. Birth control methods that prevent ovulation include birth control pills, patches, and rings.
Preventing fertilization: Even if ovulation occurs, birth control methods can prevent fertilization from taking place. This can be done by blocking sperm from reaching the egg or by preventing the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. Birth control methods that prevent fertilization include condoms, diaphragms, and spermicides.

## Effects of Scuba Diving on Birth Control

Scuba diving can affect birth control in two ways:

Pressure: The pressure of the water at depth can compress the uterus and ovaries, which can interfere with ovulation.
Nitrogen: Nitrogen is a gas that is dissolved in the blood at depth. When a person ascends from a dive, the dissolved nitrogen can form bubbles in the blood, which can lead to decompression sickness. Decompression sickness can cause a number of symptoms, including pain, nausea, and dizziness. In severe cases, decompression sickness can be fatal.

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## Recommendations for Women Who Scuba Dive and Use Birth Control

Women who scuba dive and use birth control should take the following precautions:

Use a highly effective birth control method. Birth control pills, patches, and rings are the most effective methods of birth control.
Avoid diving to depths greater than 100 feet. The pressure of the water at greater depths can increase the risk of decompression sickness.
Ascend from dives slowly. Ascending too quickly can increase the risk of decompression sickness.
If you experience any symptoms of decompression sickness, seek medical attention immediately.

## Conclusion

Birth control can be affected by scuba diving, but the risk is small if you take the proper precautions. By following the recommendations above, women who scuba dive and use birth control can minimize the risk of pregnancy and decompression sickness.

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