Common side effects of birth control pills. Is it time to switch?
Birth control pills are oral contraceptives that help prevent a pregnancy. Typically taken by women, the pills manipulate with the body’s hormonal balance inhibiting the odds of getting pregnant.
Depending upon the combination of hormones they contain – estrogen and progestin or progestin alone, the pills are classified as monophasic, biphasic, or triphasic.
While ‘monophasic’ birth control pills release the same amount of estrogen and progestin every day, the ‘biphasic’pills release same amount of estrogen for the first 21 days of the cycle. During this phase the lower progestin/estrogen ratio allows the uterus lining to thicken. However, during the second phase of the menstrual cycle, the progestin/estrogen ratio surges causing the uterus lining to shed, thus preventing pregnancy.
The ‘triphasic’ birth control pills release varying estrogen and progestin levels throughout the cycle.
Side effects of birth control pills
The birth control pills allegedly cause nausea, especially in first timers. As birth control pills are hormone pills they cause breast tenderness and spotting between periods. Women on birth control pills are likelier to experience lighter periods.
Moreover, they lead to fluid retention, causing significant weight gain. However, these side-effects are rated as mild side effects and usually settle in the first three months of use.
A woman on pills may also experience more severe after effects including breast pain, discharge or engorgement; rashes and itching. A woman may feel intolerant to contact lenses and complain of eye problems like blurred vision.
Frequent headaches or migraine attacks also become common. She may also feel nervous and depressed, which may contribute to reduced libido.
Regular consumption of birth control pills may also cause formation of fatal blood clots.
Furthermore, women who smoke, suffer from high blood pressure and have a history of blood clots or breast or endometrial cancer should not opt for oral contraceptive pills.
Hormone-based birth control pills are commonly associated with side-effects. Giving each one of them a couple of tries is the only method through which one can know what can be tolerated.