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Birth Control Pills - 10 Common Side Effects of Them!

Dr. Ramna Banerjee 89% (4967 ratings)
DGO, MD, MRCOG, CCST, Accredation in Colposcopy
Gynaecologist, Kolkata  •  18 years experience
Birth Control Pills - 10 Common Side Effects of Them!

A birth control pill is commonly referred to as an oral contraceptive pill. A form of hormonal contraception and is a highly effective method of birth control. Only 1% of women experience unintended pregnancy when on the pill.

Birth control pills are of two types i.e combination pills and mini pills. Combination pills contain synthetic forms of the two hormones called oestrogen and progesterone. The mini pill only contains the hormone progesterone and is called progestin.

However, the pill does have some side effects to it. These include the following:

  1. Intermenstrual spotting: Within the first three months of starting the pill, women experience vaginal bleeding between the two period cycles.
  2. NauseaAlthough the symptoms subside after some time, some women till experience nausea for a while after taking the pill. If one consumes the pill with food or before going to bed, this can help lower the likelihood of feeling nauseous.
  3. Breast tendernessThe breasts might feel tender and enlarged after taking the pill. However, anyone who finds a lump in the breast or feels continuous pain needs to seek medical help.
  4. HeadachesMigraines and headaches are a very common phenomenon of the birth control pill. Different types and doses of these pills may result in different headache symptoms.
  5. Gaining weightExperiencing certain fluid retention in the hip or breast area is very common. It also affects the fat cells of the body because of the oestrogen present in the pills.
  6. Mood swings: Those with a history of stress or depression might start to feel the same again. If one has that kind of a history and starts to feel emotional changes, she should consult a doctor immediately.
  7. Missing periods: It is a common side effect that after using the pill, one's period might get skipped. This is influenced by several factors including stress, depression or thyroid dysfunctions.
  8. Decreased libido: The sex drive can be widely affected by the birth control pill. Although many other factors could result in a decreased libido, but if it remains after having the pill and is persistent, one should seek medical help or consult a specialist.
  9. Vaginal dischargeThere could be an increase or a decrease in the vaginal lubrication. Some people might experience vaginal discharge since it is very common. Changes in vaginal discharge never turn out to be harmful.
  10. Changes in the vision: Fluid retention due to the birth control pill can result in the swelling of corneas. Because of this, even contact lenses do not fit comfortably. Contact lens wearers should consult an ophthalmologist if their vision or lens tolerance is disturbed.


Although there are certain side effects to taking birth control pills; however, one should not abstain from taking them in the fear that they might cause certain side effects. These pills are a precautionary measure along with other protection methods and should be taken in case someone wants to avoid pregnancy at the time being.

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