Side effects of birth control pills – Types of birth control pills and natural alternatives to use rather than contraceptives.
The oral contraceptive pills is a hormone-based method of preventing pregnancy. Also, it can help resolve irregular menstruation, painful or heavy periods, endometriosis, acne, and premenstrual syndrome.
Contraceptive pills work by preventing ovulation. No egg is produced, so there is nothing for the sperm to fertilize. That is, pregnancy cannot occur. The pill is used by women aged 15 to 44 years. It has both advantages and disadvantages. There are different types of contraceptive pills. They all contain synthetic forms of the hormones estrogen, progesterone, or both.
Women take the pills to prevent pregnancy, and when taken correctly, it is up to 99.9% effective. However, the pill does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STD), including HIV (the virus that causes AIDS).
In industrialized nations today, synthetic hormonal oral contraception (birth control pill) is the most common practice for preventing pregnancy. Despite evidence suggesting that there are many possible dangers of birth control pills, millions of women still choose to take these hormonal medications every year. In fact, 67 per cent of all women who report practising contraception currently uses non-permanent birth control methods, primarily hormonal methods – which include the pill, patch, implant, injectables, and vaginal ring – or IUDs and condoms. About 25 per cent of these women rely on taking daily birth control pills, even though most are aware the pill affects their entire bodies.
It’s being found that dangers of birth control pills can include side effects like cystic acne, anxiety or moodiness, breast tenderness, weight gain, or for some, difficulty getting pregnant after stopping the pill. Birth control pills may even cause depression. If you currently use birth control of any kind, I cannot urge you strongly enough to consider natural birth control alternative instead. There are many other safer ways to prevent/control pregnancy, such as using condoms or avoiding sex during certain days of the month; that do not cause the side effects associated with taking birth control pills.
Types of birth control pills (oral contraceptives)
There are dozens of different brands of birth control pills, with most falling into one of two categories: combined pills or progestin-only pills.
- Combine birth control pills: Combine pills birth control medications contain more than one type of female hormone. They are made with chemical hormones that mimic the effects of estrogen and progestin which prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation. In addition to preventing ovulation, combine pill formulas cause other changes to a woman’s reproductive system that stops egg fertilization, including thinning the lining of the uterus and thickening cervical mucus. Combine pills are taken in a cycle every month, with usually about 21-24 “active days” of taking a pill, followed by about four to seven days of from taking a pill. Menstrual bleeding usually occurs on the days when pills are taken. Even on days when no pill is taken, the woman still won’t become pregnant.
- Progestin-only birth control pills (sometimes called minipills): These pills contain only progestin (no estrogen). They are normally recommended for women who can’t take combination pills due to side effects or interactions. Minipills don’t usually stop ovulation, but rather cause cervical mucus to thicken and the lining of the uterus to thin. There are far fewer brands of progestin-only pills available and they tend to cause more breakthrough bleeding.
Side effects of birth control pills
Common side effects of oral contraceptives include:
- Intermenstrual spotting
- Breast tenderness
- Headaches & migraine
- Weight gain
- Irregular bleeding
- Potential increased risk of breast cancer
- Potential increased risk of blood clotting, heart attack and stroke. The risk of blood clot is highest for very overweight women taking the pills.
- Gallbladder or liver problems
- Increased blood pressure
- Mood changes, with some women experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety.
- Missed periods
- Fluid retention
- Larger breasts
- Diminished sexual desire (decreased libido)
- Reduced or increased acne
Natural birth control solutions
Sometimes, birth control methods are very necessary for preventing unwanted pregnancies, but I urge you to learn more about other natural options that do not damage your health:
- Male condoms
- Female condoms
- Cervical cap
- Calendar method
- Natural family planning/fertility awareness
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Women who should be very careful about taking oral contraceptives, due to interactions and side effects include those who are:
- Already pregnant or breastfeeding
- Older than age 35
- Smoke cigarettes or use recreational drugs
- Have a history of high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, current deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
- Have a history of breast cancer
- Healing from any major surgery
- Taking anticonvulsant or anti-tuberculous agents that can interact with birth control pills
Please, see your doctor or health-care provider for further advice on how to control unwanted pregnancies rather than taking this pills and risking your health.