Birth control pills are highly effective when taken according to prescription. However, like any medication, birth control pills too come with possible side effects. Knowing the birth control pills side effects will help diagnose any problems that may occur after taking the pill.
What then are birth control pill side effects? Here are a few common adverse reactions that women on pills or considering taking the pills should be aware of. Please note that you should consult your doctor if any of the side effects are prolonged or severe.
Nausea is one of the most common birth control pill side effects. It occurs occasionally with the intake of the pill. To avoid nausea, the pill can be taken after eating dinner or before bedtime. The symptoms usually subside after 2-3 months.
Birth control pills contain synthetic hormones which can have a direct effect on neurotransmitters and may cause an imbalance. This may lead to depression. However, there are several factors that can cause depression and therefore it is important to determine the real cause before passing it off as a side effect of the pill! Read our comprehensive article on do birth control pills cause depression.
- Sore or Enlarged Breasts
The pill contains a high dose of estrogen which is a hormone that is most associated with bloating. This may cause your breasts to appear enlarged. Some women even experience breast soreness and tenderness after consuming the pill. However, these are mild hormone changes caused by intake of estrogen and should not lead to any serious health concerns.
There are several types of birth control pills with a combination of synthetic hormones. Some pills lower the androgen levels and are known to actually decrease the chances of severe acne. At the same time there are pills that contain progestin, which is androgen-based. These pills are known to trigger acne and breakouts on the skin.
While headaches can occur due to stress and lack of sleep among other factors, the pill can have an effect on headache too. Although it cannot cause the headache, having the pill can make headaches worse in some cases. Women who suffer from sinus and migraines must consult their doctor before taking the pill.
- Irregular Menstrual Cycles
Women may experience spotting or light bleeding in the first few weeks of taking the pill. Birth control pill side effects may even include heavier bleeding for some women, in which case a doctor must be consulted with. For smokers it may be helpful as a first measure to avoid smoking or quit altogether. In general smoking can possibly also reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills.
What about birth control pills and weight gain? While many women swear they’ve gained weight because of the pill, research does not fully support this view. We’ve written more about do birth control pills make you fat.
Birth control pills can even have other side -effects like yeast infection, blood clots, and infertility in some very extreme cases. It is important to note that any peculiar health issues must be reported to a health professional immediately to avoid any future concerns.
But it’s not all gloomy. Besides from the obvious use to prevent unwanted pregnancy, birth control pills have been discovered to also provide positive side effects. These include easing PMS mood swings, less painful periods, less menstrual migraines and protection against some cancer types (endometrial and ovarian cancer).