Birth control pills or oral contraceptive pills, commonly referred to as “the pill” is a hormone-based technique of preventing pregnancy. It helps to solve irregular menstruation, painful or heavy periods, endometriosisacne, and premenstrual syndrome.

Birth control pills works by inhibiting ovulation. No egg is produced, so there is nothing for the sperm to fertilize and this way, pregnancy cannot occur. There are various types of contraceptive pills and they all have synthetic forms of the hormones estrogen, progesterone, or both.

When these pills are used appropriately, they are very effective, but because users make mistakes, 6 to 12 pregnancies in every 100 are believed to occur each year while using it. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put the failure rate of both types of pill at 9 percent. However, Birth control pills do not avert sexually transmitted infections.  Like other medications, birth control pills have their common side effects and some people use it with no effect at all. However, these are the common side effect of birth control pills you should know.

Nausea: Some people may experience mild nausea the first time they use the pill, but the symptom usually subside after a while. Taking the pill with food or at bedtime may help. If nausea is severe or continues for longer than 3 months, you need to seek medical help.

Breast Tenderness: Birth control pills may cause breast enlargement or tenderness. This normally resolves a few weeks after starting the pill. Anyone who finds a lump in the breast or who has persistent pain or tenderness or severe breast pain should seek medical help.

Inter-menstrual spotting: Vaginal bleeding is common between expected periods. This usually stops within 3 months of taking the pill. During spotting, the pill is still quite effective, as long as it has been taken correctly and no doses are missed. Anyone who experiences 4 or more days of bleeding while on active pills, or heavy bleeding for 3 or more days, should contact their health care provider for help.

Headaches and Migraine: The hormones found in birth control pills can increase the chance of headaches and migraine. Pills with different types and doses of hormone may trigger different symptoms. Symptoms normally improve over time, but if severe headache start when you are taking the pill, you should seek medical advice.

Weight gain: Most studies done have found an average weight gain of 2 kilograms at 6 or 12 months with progestin-only birth control. However, fluid retention may occur, especially around the breasts and hips.

Mood Changes: Studies propose that oral contraceptives can possibly affect the user’s mood and enhance the risk of depression or other emotional changes. Anyone experiencing mood changes during pill use should seek help.

Missed Periods: Even with accurate pill use, a period may sometimes be missed. If a period is missed or is very light while using the pill, a pregnancy test is suggested before staring the next pack. It is not unusual for a flow to be very light or missed altogether at a time. Seek medical advice if you are worried over this side effect.

Decreased Libido: The hormones found in the contraceptive pill has affect sex drive or libido in some people. If this symptom persists, you should seek medical advice from your health provider.

Vaginal Discharge: There can be changes in vaginal discharge when using the pill. It’s possibly an increase or decrease in vaginal lubrication or a change in the nature of the discharge. If vaginal dryness results, added lubrication can help make sex more comfortable and enjoyable.

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