If you are taking birth control pills, it is right that you know the side effects that might come with them so that you can recognize them early. If you experience some of these uncomfortable birth control pill side effects, you can switch to another pill or another form of contraception as recommended by your doctor.
Common Birth Control Pill Side Effects
These are some of the effects associated with taking birth control pills:
1. Intermenstrual Spotting
Vaginal bleeding is one of the common birth control pill side effects. It affects around half the women who use the pill. The bleeding mainly occurs within the first three months of taking the birth control pill, and it occurs between menstrual periods.
Spotting is usually caused by the body adjusting to the new hormonal environment. For 90 percent of women, the intermenstrual spotting stops by the end of the third month. However, for others, it might take longer.
The pill is always active even when you are experiencing these side effects as long as you observe the correct schedule. You should seek medical advice in case of heavy bleeding for more than two days or normal bleeding for more than four days.
Nausea is also another common symptom that occurs during the initial days of taking the pill. For most people, nausea ends after a while. One trick to avoid feeling nauseated is to take the pill right before bedtime. You can also take the contraceptive during meals to lower or prevent nausea.
The key to preventing unwanted side effects is to be consistent with pill-taking. There are a number of solutions to help in this regard, from reminder apps to more sophisticated pill reminder devices.
3. Fluid retention
Taking birth control pills causes some people to experience a slight weight gain due to their cells retaining fluids. The estrogen found in the contraceptives might cause the enlargement of fat cells causing them to retain more water. However, just like with many other side effects, this symptom is short lived, and many women regain their normal weight after 2 to 3 months.
Note that serious weight gain is not one of the birth control pill side effects. Various scientific studies have come out to disprove this myth.
4. Mood changes
Mood changes when using birth control pills can occur especially in people with a history of mental disorders such as depression. The pill might cause people to experience emotional changes. Therefore, people with a history of mental health problems should discuss this with their doctor.
5. Missed periods
At times, you might miss your period even when you are on the pill. This can result from other factors such as stress, hormonal abnormalities or illness. You should, however, ensure that you take a pregnancy test if you have been engaging in sexual intercourse to confirm that you are not pregnant.
If you continue to miss your periods, then you should seek medical advice.
6. Decreased sex drive
The hormones contained in birth control pills can affect some people’s sex drive. It is, however, difficult to ascertain if ones decreased libido is a birth control pill side effect since other factors can also cause the symptom.
Uncommon side effects
Other birth control pill side effects are less common but might be a serious hazard to your health. These include:
- Blurred vision
- Abdominal pain
- Swelling in the legs
In case you experience such symptoms, you should seek medical advice. They may be a pointer to a more serious problem such as liver disease or heart disease.