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Birth Control Pills - 10 Common Side Effects!

Dr. Mohan Krishna Raut 90% (83 ratings)
MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, MBBS, DGO
Gynaecologist, Mumbai  •  30 years experience
Birth Control Pills - 10 Common Side Effects!

The contraceptive pill, or simply 'the pill', is a type of hormonal contraception taken by women to prevent pregnancy. Now, even though the birth control pill is extremely effective in preventing unplanned pregnancy, it is not without some side effects. The common side effects of birth control pill include:

  1. Intermenstrual spotting: Some women experience intermenstrual spotting or bleeding in the time between their menstrual cycles. This is very common in the first three months of you taking the pill. Most of the times, intermenstrual bleeding resolves itself.
  2. Nausea: Some women might experience mild nausea when they take the pill for the first time. The nausea will resolve on its own after some time, but if it gets critical or persists, seek medical help. Taking your pill at bedtime or with food can aid in countering the nausea.
  3. Breast tenderness: Breasts can become tender or enlarge as a result of birth control pills. Reducing salt and caffeine intake, and wearing a support bra can be beneficial.
  4. Headaches: The development of migraines and headaches are the effects of the sex hormones. Different pills with varied doses and types of hormones may lead to different symptoms of headaches. Studies suggest that pills with low hormone doses are usually linked with headaches.
  5. Weight gain: There is no logical link between weight fluctuations and contraceptive pills, but fluid retention (specifically in the hip and breast areas) and enlarged fat cells are common side-effects.
  6. Mood changes: Women who may have suffered from depression should consult their doctors when taking the pill. A study discovered that taking pills usually leads to the thickening of the cortexes (outermost layers of the brain involved with analysing incoming stimuli and reward response). However, there is more research pending on this issue.
  7. Missed periods: Skipping or missing a period is very common when you are on the pill. Factors such as stress, travel, illness and thyroid or hormonal abnormalities can influence this.
  8. Decreased libido: The pills contain hormones that can lower your sex drive or libido.
  9. Vaginal discharge: Some women experience differences in their vaginal discharge when they are on the pill. Vaginal lubrication can dip, which causes discomfort during sex.
  10. Visual changes: Fluid retention is a side-effect of the pill, which even ends up affecting the cornea; they change shape or swell up. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist.
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