Birth Control Pills (BCPs) were introduced to help with population control and family planning issues. Soon, they became an alternative to condoms and the diaphragm. While they are completely safe and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), just like any drug, they also come with potential side effects and risks. These pills, also known as oral contraceptives, contain synthetic versions of the hormones progestin and estrogen. The ovaries naturally produce these hormones. BCPs can contain only progestin or they can contain both hormones. Both hormones suppress ovulation or the release of an egg during a woman’s menstrual cycle. They accomplish this by upsetting the body’s normal hormonal balance. This hormonal imbalance can negatively affect her body.
Side effects of taking birth control pills
Health Shots spoke to Dr. Teji Dawane, Senior Consultant, OB/GYN, Motherhood Hospitals, Whitefield, Bangalore, to learn about the side effects of using birth control pills.
Dr. Dawane says: “These birth control pills also encourage thickening of cervical mucus at the opening of the uterus, the cervix and endometrium, the lining of the uterus acts as a barrier between sperm and any eggs that might be released. The use of hormonal birth control pills can cause a number of side effects that are mostly mild in nature and can resolve within two to three months. Let us know some of the side effects.
1. Spotting between periods
Spotting is a common side effect of birth control pills that occurs when the uterus is adjusting to a thinner lining along with the body adjusting to changing hormone levels. Breakthrough bleeding or spotting is a condition where vaginal bleeding occurs between menstrual cycles due to birth control pills.
2. Headaches and migraine
According to a 2005 study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 10 percent of users experience a headache within a month of starting the drug. According to Dr. Dawane, “Changes in the hormones estrogen and progesterone can trigger or increase the frequency of headaches and migraines.”
Also read: Is it safe to skip periods using birth control pills? Let’s find out
3. Weight gain
Weight gain as a possible side effect of birth control pills. They can increase fluid retention or water weight combined with fat or muscle mass. It occurs specifically if you take it by injection. And the fat leaves your body once you stop taking it.
4. Breast tenderness
Taking birth control pills often causes breast tenderness along with increased breast tenderness. This causes the breasts to grow larger. In cases of breast pain, breast changes, or a lump, it is important to see a doctor.
5. Mood swings
Hormones play a crucial role in influencing a person’s mood and emotions. While taking a birth control pill, changes in hormone levels can cause mood fluctuations.
In addition to the symptoms mentioned, other possible side effects include increased blood pressure, swelling, insomnia, and fatigue.
The contraceptive pill is a popular and effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancy and is accepted as a safe method of birth control. If you have difficulty adjusting to the pill or if you experience side effects for a long period of time, see a doctor for further observation.