Did you know that about 150 million women all over the globe take birth control pills? Well, for some of them, oral contraception is some sort of a rite of passage. In fact, it has been found that 27% of women who had been using birth control used the pill, and many of them actually began taking it as early as the age of 15. Remember that different kinds of birth control pills tend to work in different ways, and surely they do have some positive side effects (aside from preventing pregnancy) such as improving a woman’s gynecological health. But considering that there are non-hormonal alternatives available out there, it might be worth checking some of its known harmful effects as listed below:
- Pills may affect your sex drive. Oral contraceptives (OCs) cut the libido-friendly testosterone in a couple of ways – first, they silent the ovaries; thus, halting testosterone production, and second, the liver pumps out the sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). If you think you have developed serious problems below the belt, consult your doctor about switching to a different pill formulation.
- Pills may alter your mood. While for some women OCs are mood-savers, it could be a mood-killer for others. Pill users have been found to be twice as likely to become depressed as compared to non-users. It could be a bit odd but any emotional side effects can be eased by using a different med so talk to your doctor if you observe any worsening of depression symptoms.
- Pills may increase the risk of breakthrough bleeding and getting blood clots. Spotting is not fun at all but don’t fret as it isn’t particularly alarming either. It’s often attributed to the use of low-dose birth control pills as it’s believed to thin the endometrial lining. In addition, about 7 in 10, 000 women tend to experience blood clots each year. With birth control, your chances of getting this are tripled; worse it can be five to ten-fold while pregnant and during childbirth. This event can’t be too serious if you don’t have cardiovascular risk factors. But if you experience any signs of blood clot like a swollen leg or chest pain, immediately stop taking the pill and go see your doctor.
- Pills may reduce milk production. If you are breastfeeding, avoid taking pills that contain estrogen as they can decrease production of breast milk by as much as 5%. Progestin-only pills nevertheless do not interfere with lactation. This med, however, has t be taken at the same time every day since they are a bit less effective than combination pills.
- Pills may result in unpleasant premenstrual symptoms. Breast tenderness, headaches, mood swings, water retention, and nausea are just some of those side effects that women may have to deal with when taking pills. While none of these are signs of your health going off beam, they can still make you quite miserable. If you feel like there’s no end in sight, talk to your doctor about using OCs with drosperinone which is a kind of progesterone with lesser anti-androgenic properties. Perhaps the switch is all you need to start feeling like yourself again.