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The Birth Control Pill Has More Side Effects Than You Think

Birth control pills aren’t new, although there have been many improvements over the years. Using hormones to cause the body to believe it is already pregnant, the pill reduces chances of pregnancy, and monitors menstruation. As with any other form of medication, there are always side effects to be wary of, and while some are obvious, others you might not be aware of. Parents.com writes: “While some are good, some less than ideal and others downright dangerous, possible side effects are just that: possible. Everybody is different and responds to each birth control pill formulation in a different way. Oral contraceptives (OC's) have been around for 50 years. They've undergone many improvements, including decreasing the amounts of hormones put into the pills and using different forms of progesterones.”


Statistics show that more than twelve million women in the United States alone take this pill regularly each year for a number of reasons. It has shown time and again that it is an effective way to abstain from pregnancy, especially when taken at the same time each day. Most pills of this kind are said to be 99.9% effective, rendering them .01% ineffective in delaying pregnancy. This, of course, means that one possible side effect of using the pill and no other form of birth control is pregnancy.


Addressing The Pill


It clears up acne, keeps you from becoming pregnant, and can help control your menstruation, but there are a few downsides to the pill. For one, it doesn’t always work in terms of maintaining regular periods, and can sometimes cause painful cramping, irregular menstruation, and menorrhagia. Another common effect of the medication is weight gain, which has called for other methods for women to reduce chances of pregnancy without the addition of hormones. Medical News Today writes: “Some people experience mild nausea when first taking the pill, but symptoms usually subside after a short period of time. Taking the pill with food or at bedtime can help lower the likelihood of nausea. Anyone experiencing persistent or severe nausea should seek medical guidance.”


Mood changes, vaginal discharge, headaches, and a lowered level of sexual arousal can also sometimes occur. All of which can be ongoing, or temporary, depending on the person and the brand in use. Sometimes it is a matter of becoming accustomed to a new pill, and nausea, along with other side effects will ease, other times, the reaction is permanent so long as the pill is in use, and women may need to speak to a physician about another form of birth control.


Choosing Your Pill


Unfortunately, there is not one pill that suits all women, which means that sometimes you have to shop around to find the right brand for you. Your doctor can help you by prescribing a sample pill over the period of one to three months, this will help you to determine whether the symptoms are short or long term and if you should continue using that particular brand of pill. If the symptoms continue, your doctor may switch you to another brand or a lower dosage.


You can speak to your friends and family about their own experiences with pills, or read online reviews for more information on common effects of each brand. You may still be able to test each pill yourself to determine how well it suits your body but it helps offer support in terms of your decision. Young Women’s Health writes: “First, talk with your health care provider about whether the Pill is right for you. If it is, discuss which pill and what dosage is best for you. The combined pill with both estrogen and progestin is slightly more effective than the progestin-only pill. However, some women can’t take estrogen, so it’s better for them to take the progestin-only pill.”


Remember that the pill alone can’t prevent sexually transmitted diseases, so using condoms is still necessary when you are with a partner who hasn’t been tested for every possible transmittable illness. There is also a greater chance of becoming pregnant when using the pill alone, compared to using the pill and a condom. Abstinence is the only form of birth control which is 100% effective. Your doctor can give you more options of different forms of birth control which may be useful to you.


Before trying a new type of birth control pill, it is important to speak to your physician about your medical history. Not all pills are safe for every woman, especially if cancer risks are high in your family, or there are other medical conditions to consider. If the pill isn’t something you can use as a form of birth control, you may be able to get an intrauterine device, birth control patch, or vaginal ring, which all work to prevent pregnancy from occurring during sexual intercourse.

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