side effects if birth control pills
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15 side effect of birth control pills that you should know

Birth control is a way for men and women to prevent pregnancy. There are many different methods of birth control, including hormonal contraception such as “the pill.” When these pill taken correctly, it is up to 99.9% effective but there are some side effect of taking birth control pill.

Combination birth control pills, also known as the pill, are oral contraceptives that contain estrogen and a progestin. Combination birth control pills keep your ovaries from releasing an egg. They also cause changes in the cervical mucus and the lining of the uterus (endometrial) to keep sperm from joining the egg.

Different types of combination birth control pills contain different doses of estrogen and progestin. Continuous-dosing or extended-cycle pills allow you to reduce the number of periods you have each year. You can check with your health care provider about the correct dosage of birth control pill for you.

15 most common Side effect of birth control pill

Even though birth control pills are very safe, using the combination pill can slightly increase your risk of health problems. Complications are very rare but it does depend on individual body and their lifestyle. The specific side effects vary widely among individuals, and different pills cause different side effects. Some of the most common side effects of birth control pills are:

1.    Spotting between period

During the first few months of using birth control pills, you may have some minor bleeding between periods. This is called breakthrough bleeding or spotting which is one of the most common side effect of birth control pill. It’s more common if you’re taking progestin-only pills.  It typically stops on its own, but report it to your healthcare provider if it happens, along with any other side effects.

2.    Changes in period

When you start taking birth control pills, you can feel some of the changes in your period as a side effect like light periods or missed period. This is because of the hormones they contain. Depending on the type of birth control, people can use the pill to safely skip a period.

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3.    Vaginal discharge

Vaginal discharge is another very common side effect of birth control pill. You can feel increase or decrease in vaginal discharge or a change in the nature of the discharge. For some women pills can cause vaginal dryness also and all these changes can be because of hormone containing in pills.

These changes are not usually harmful, but alterations in color or odor could point to an infection. Check with your doctor if you feel like you are having an infection.

4.    Weight gain

Weight gain is a possible side effect of birth control pill. Birth control pills could lead to increases in fluid retention or water weight. They could also lead to increases in fat or muscle mass. However, some people may instead report weight loss when taking the pill. But there has not been enough research to confirm whether the hormones in birth control pills lead to weight gain or weight loss.


5.    Headache and Migraine

The hormone in birth control pill can cause you headache more frequently as a side effect. Birth control pill creates changes in hormone estrogen and progesterone which can trigger migraine in some women. However symptom depends on the dosage, type of pill and individual body.

6.    Breast tenderness

Taking birth control pills often causes the breasts to feel tender as a side effect, especially soon after a person starts taking them. Hormonal pills can also cause your breast to grow bigger. Wearing a supportive bra can help reduce breast tenderness.

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7.    Mood swings

Our hormones are responsible for changes related to mood. Hormonal pills are also a type of hormone which are given orally and can affect a person’s mood. These pill make changes in hormone which can affect a person’s mood and emotions.

8.    Melasma (Darkening of skin)

Some people can fell the darkening of skin due to these pills which is called melasma. Hormones are the primary cause of melasma – especially estrogen. Elevated levels of estrogen in the body increase pigment production, and hormonal birth control works by increasing the levels of estrogen in the body. That’s why melasma is commonly seen side effect with birth control pill.

9.    Low sex drive

These hormonal pills can affect your sex drive which is because of change in hormones due to the pill. Some people reported low sex drive and decreased libido while on birth control pill. It’s always a good idea to consult with your health care provider if you have any concern regarding this.

10.    Eye changes

The estrogen hormone in your birth control can cause eye inflammation. This can interfere with the eye’s oil-producing glands, resulting in dryness and blurred vision. Estrogen can also cause corneal thickening. This does not suggest a higher risk of eye disease, but it may mean that contact lenses no longer fit comfortably.

11.    Acne

Some forms of birth control pills can also cause or worsen acne, specially the pills which only contain progesterone. Even with the combination pills also you can notice an initial flare up as your body gets used to the new hormones.

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12.    Inflammations

Birth control pills can increase your risk of inflammation which can cause some health problems over time. Inflammations can also affect your body in the long run and can eventually lead to disease or conditions including certain cancers or arthritis. Increasing your cardiovascular health risk is also a side effect of birth control pills in long run. Always talk to your doctor who prescribes you these pills regarding all the side effects.

13.    Gallstones

Birth control pills in general could increase the risk of gallstones by increasing cholesterol levels in the bile and decreasing gallbladder movements. Some studies also found an increase in the development of gallbladder disease among women who were using oral contraceptives compared with those not taking these drugs. Both estrogen and progesterone have been shown to increase the risk of gallstones.

blood pressure

14.    Increased blood pressure

Birth control pills can increase your blood pressure from slightly to potentially dangerous. Birth control pill can also increase your risk of developing blood clot. Sometimes, if your blood pressure becomes too high while using the pill, you may need to switch to a new birth control method. If you feel any symptom of high blood pressure, it’s always better to consult with the doctor and check suitable option for you.

15.    Decreased testosterone

Mostly birth control pills contain the female hormone estrogen and progestin. They are often called combination pills. Many combined pills lower your testosterone. That’s the hormone that makes you want to have sex. Having less testosterone can decrease acne, but can also lower your libido. If you use non-hormonal contraception options, you won’t notice this effect.

Some of the serious side effects of birth control pill

Combination birth control pills increase the risk of certain conditions, which can be serious. Although these side effects are rare but there is always a possibility. They include:

  • Liver disorder
  • Heart-attacks
  • Stroke
  • Blood clot
  • Severe headache
  • Chest pain
  • Blurred Vision or loss of vision
  • Elevated triglycerides and pancreatitis
  • Severe stomach pain

Birth control pills can lead to a higher risk for blood clots, heart attack, and stroke in women who smoke, especially if older than 35 years of age. Birth control pills should NOT be used by women who are over 35 years of age and smoke. The birth control pill does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Only a condom can protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.

Who should not use birth control pills

It is always better to avoid birth control pill to avoid serious side effect if you have following conditions or check with your doctor about the best option for you.

  • If you smoke or have heart disease or other cardiovascular conditions, you may not be an ideal candidate for birth control pills.
  • Birth control pills can sometimes be slightly less effective for women with obesity.
  • Known or suspected breast cancer or cancer of the lining of the uterus, cervix, or vagina or certain hormonally-sensitive cancers.
  • Pregnant or think you are pregnant.
  • Blood clots
  • Liver disease or tumor
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes affecting your circulation.
  • Mental depression
  • If you are over 35 and smoke

When to see a doctor

If you are taking birth control pills and having any of the following side effect, check with your doctor as soon as possible.

  • Fainting
  • Severe leg pain or swelling
  • Blurred vision or loss of vision
  • Chest pain
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Two or more missed period and symptoms of pregnancy.
  • Severe headache or migraine
  • Severe mood swings or depression
  • Shortness of breath
  • High blood pressure

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