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July 19, 2008

Birth Control Side Effects

By Tara Fraser

Birth control is one of the greatest inventions of all time, allowing women to avoid getting pregnant and enjoy sex with freedom. But the Pill does have its bad side, albeit not usually a very serious one. But birth control side effects are nonetheless very real.

It is important, however, to note the potential problems and benefits that arise from taking The Pill.

Different birth control dosages

The Pill comes in a variety of different levels and with chemical hormones. Some pills contain progestin alone and others contain estrogen and progestin. Although today’s pills tend to contain much less estrogen than pills from just over 10 years ago, they do still contain enough hormones to have serious side effects on women.

And while some side effects are easily detectable, others aren’t. So without further ado, here are some birth control side effects that The Pill may be having on you. And you may not even realize it until you’re through reading.

The good birth control side effects

For many women, The Pill is a godsend; not just because it can prevent unwanted pregnancy, but because some women experience irregular periods and intense menstrual pain, and The Pill helps to minimize the discomfort.

Good birth control side effects #1
Decrease in acne

There is no cure for acne, but because acne is a hormonal problem, many teenage (and even adult) women take The Pill in order to minimize breakouts.

There even exists a pill, called Diane-35, whose sole purpose, besides keeping you from getting pregnant, is to help women combat acne. It works extremely well for preventing most women’s acne, as do many other brands of birth control pills.

Good birth control side effects #2
Weight loss

There are many women who enjoy The Pill because it helps control their appetite and results in weight loss. The most popular birth control that has such an effect is Yasmin.

There are also plenty of women who insist that The Pill didn’t result in weight loss, but it didn’t result in any weight gain, either. So for many women, the side effect of weight loss or, at the very least, no weight gain, is a huge plus.

Good birth control side effects #3

Imagine that, just before your period, you felt good and energetic, didn’t have any headaches and didn’t feel irritable. Well, for many women who take The Pill, that’s exactly how they feel.

Not only do women know exactly when they’re going to get their periods; they know how long it’s going to last. The flow isn’t incredibly heavy throughout the menses, which also leaves its takers feeling great.

Good birth control side effects #4
No menstrual pain
I lost an ovary a few years back and my periods were incredibly painful as a result, so my gynecologist prescribed The Pill and although it took a few tries to find the right birth control pill for me, the pain subsided completely.

Whether your menstrual problem is serious or you just can’t deal with the cramps that go along with menstruation, there is a pill that can help you eradicate the pain.

The bad birth control side effects

Unfortunately, ingesting hormones to regulate your period may also lead to other, unwanted, side effects, most of which keep many women from opting for The Pill.

Bad birth control side effects #1
Blood clots

Although the likelihood of blood clotting has been significantly reduced due to The Pill’s recent low doses of combined hormones (estrogen and progestin), there is still a chance that women who take The Pill may experience blood clots in their legs, lungs, heart, or brain.

The likelihood increases if you’re a smoker, over 35 and considerably overweight, but unless you already have a predisposition to developing blood clots, the chances aren’t terribly high.

Bad birth control side effects #2
Depression and/or anxiety

In my mission to find a good pill that would alleviate my pain, I ended up taking a birth control pill that gave me terrible anxiety and had me on the brink of suicide.

At the time, I had no idea that The Pill could have such a serious effect on my mental health, but thanks to a close friend, it was brought to my attention that the new pill I was prescribed could be affecting my moods.

Whenever you start a new medication, especially The Pill, take note of your moods and state of mind. If you become anxious or depressed, stop taking The Pill right away and consult your physician.

Bad birth control side effects #3
Loss of libido

You may be the horniest girl this side of porn without The Pill, but there is a chance that it can hinder your desire for sex completely – and although it’s supposed to keep you from getting pregnant, this is not its intended way of doing so.

If you realize that you have no interest in kissing, let alone having sex with, your man, be aware that The Pill may be causing your lack of desire.

Bad birth control side effects #4
Weight gain & tender breasts

Although some women complain about significant weight gain while on The Pill, the most any woman should gain is about 10 pounds. Most women gain between three to five pounds at most.

Besides the weight gain, your breasts may swell, which, according to some women, is not such a bad thing. But the feelings of breast tenderness may become somewhat irritating and could result at the onset of your period every month.

Bad birth control side effects #5
Nausea & vomiting
Some women note that, in the first few cycles of The Pill, they experience feelings of nausea, at times resulting in vomiting. Luckily, after their bodies adjust to the hormonal changes, the nausea and vomiting subside.

Of course, if you experience nausea, you may opt to try a different pill. It’s possible that while one pill makes you miserable, another will have no negative side effects.

Birth control side effects

There are plenty of other potential birth control side effects that result from The Pill and, because every woman is different, you won’t know what’s going to result from your prescription until you take it.

Keep in mind that what might be a fantastic pill for your friend, may not be suitable for you at all, so don’t ask your doctor to recommend a pill simply because Joanna thinks it’s phenomenal.

And again, keep in mind that your chances for complications resulting from The Pill increase when you’re a smoker or over 35 years of age.

So with all that in mind, now you can make an informed decision about The Pill. There are a host of pros and cons involved, but the decision to take it is ultimately up to you.


Anonymous said...

Strangely enough, when i went on the birth control pill (Yaz), my acne got worse.

My gynecologist said the culprit was the hormonal fluctuation that took place right before menstruation.

Guess I was just unlucky that the natural acne fighting benefit of birth control didn't work on me.

Anonymous said...

Why not Natural Family Planning? Why do women always feel the need to destroy their bodies so we can have sex? I used to be there, but I have changed my mind. The birth control pill destroys. I love that I know my body now and what it's doing. I know when I'm fertile and when I'm not and my husband and I can have a sex life according to that. It's awesome! Why isn't it OK to abstain from sex for a few days while we're fertile? Is it really that hard for people to do?


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