Oral contraceptives are birth control pills, which as the name suggests are taken orally, to avoid pregnancy. While they are easier for birth control, having known the harmful side effects, one may find it difficult to swallow one. Healthy women have meager chance of having severe side effects. For women who smoke the effects are far worse. Smoking cigarettes increases your chance of having heart problems; which increases with age (especially in women greater than 35 years of age). The pill contains synthetic forms of estrogen and progestin hormones.
SIDE EFFECTS: If you undertake these pills you should undergo a complete physical examination that includes blood pressure measurements and breast/pelvic examinations at regular intervals. Taking birth control pills may cause the following harmful effects.
Common Side Effects
- Nausea and dizziness
- Frequent tiredness or weakness
- Mood swings
- Weight gain or loss
- Changes in pattern of menstrual cycle and bleeding.
- Abdominal cramping, bloating or stomach upset causing discomfort
- Acne problem due to hormonal imbalance
- Breast pain, tenderness, or swelling.
- Swelling of ankles and feet
- Gain or loss of body or facial hair
- High blood pressure
Less Common Side Effects
- Headaches or migraines and loss of co-ordination
- Severe depression and weakness
- Gum inflammation
- Urinary tract or vaginal infection, itching or irritation
- Sensitive skin causing brownish, blotchy spots on skin exposed to sunlight
- Aggravation of asthma
- Groin, chest or calf pain
- Changes or lumps formed in the breast
- Increased or diminished interest in sexual intercourse and responsiveness
- Coughing up of blood
- Loss or change in vision
- Change in speech pattern
- Increased risk of gallbladder disease
- Blood clots or stroke
- Benign liver tumors or liver cancer
While there may be many adverse effects of taking oral contraceptives, there are some positive beneficial uses that accompany the use of the pill.
1) It is used to regulate your menstrual cycle & predictable periods
2) Reduces acne problem
3) Diminished risk of ovarian cancer & benign breast disease
4) Reduced risk of iron deficiency anemia.
Prolonged use of contraceptives (beyond 4-6 months) should be taken under the guidance of doctor. It is also important to discuss with him any serious health problems that you may be facing.
Note – Do not smoke while taking these pills. Risk of these harmful adverse effect increases three fold.
Happy Motherhood 🙂