Taking birth control pills is one of the convenient options for women who want to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Although, it is very easy to pop the pill and keep the worries of unwanted pregnancy at baby, women may experience side-effects. These side-effects may range from mild to severe. Discussed below are some of the frequently asked questions related to the side effects and risks of the pill.
What are the possible side effects of the birth control pill?
Although over 85% of women have mild to no side effects to the pill, it is important to know the serious side effects so that appropriate measures can be taken in time:
Mild Side Effects
Nausea, weight gain (about 2 kgs), fluid retention, breast tenderness, spotting between periods. These side effects usually subside in the first three months
Moderately Serious Side Effects
Breast Pain, discharge or engorgement, rash, itching or jaundice, reduced tolerance to contact lenses, headaches or migraines, nervousness or depression. If you experience any of these side effects, you should inform your doctor. The doctor may be able to prescribe another brand of the birth control pill
that may be more suitable for you. He may also ask you to stop the pills completely and resort to a different form of contraception
Serious Side Effects
Blood clots are a serious side effect of the pill. Blood clots will exhibit different symptoms depending on the part of the body
where they form. Some of these symptoms are leg tenderness or swelling; sudden chest pain or shortness of breath, partial or complete loss of vision or blackouts; numbness in any part of the body. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should immediately stop the pill and consult your doctor.
Are birth control pills safe?
Many women have been using birth control pill as a safe contraceptive option. As mentioned before, based on your medical and family history, your gynecologist will be able to decide whether the birth control pill will be safe for you or not. Therefore, the decision regarding whether to take the pill or not should be completely left to the gynecologist.
What kinds of pill increase the risk of health problems?
The progestin-only pills or mini pills are considered to be safer than combination pills. The intake of combination pills is linked with increased risk of developing health problems like stroke, tumours in liver, heart attack, formation of blood clots. In rare cases it can even lead to very serious complication like death. However, such risks are not associated with the use of progestin-only pills or mini pills.
Is it possible to get pregnant while taking pills?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the pill can be 99.7% effective. Therefore, there is a very minor risk of getting pregnant
while one is taking a birth control pill.
What are the risks associated with taking the pill while breastfeeding?
Taking combination pills while breastfeeding can affect the quality and quantity of breast milk and it supply during the initial weeks of breastfeeding. So, breastfeeding mothers are advised to avoid such pills during the first 3 weeks. Although, the hormones may get passed to the baby through breast milk, they may not have any adverse effect on the health of the baby. But, to be on a safer side, it is always beneficial to seek advice of a doctor, if you are a breastfeeding mother and are considering pills as a contraceptive option.
For whom is the birth control pill not advisable?
The pill is also not advisable for the following women:
- Women over 35 who smoke;
- Women with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a family history of heart disease;
- Women with past or present breast, uterus or liver cancer;
- If a pregnancy is suspected
There are also other reasons when a pill is not advisable. Your gynaecologist would be in the best position to make this decision since she would know yours and your family's medical history.