Table of contents:
- Common Side Effects of Birth Control Pills
- Possible Side Effects of More Serious Birth Control Pills
- Groups of Women Who Should Avoid Birth Control Pills
The side effects of birth control pills occur due to changes in hormone levels in the body. The side effects of this hormonal contraception are different for each woman, it can be mild or not at all, it can also be severe until its use must be stopped and replaced with another type of contraception
There are two types of birth control pills, namely birth control pills that contain only progestin and combination birth control pills that contain the hormones estrogen and progestin. If taken every day according to the rules, the effectiveness of birth control pills in preventing pregnancy is quite high and the failure rate is only about 1%.
Combined birth control pills prevent pregnancy by preventing the ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation) so that fertilization does not occur, while progestin birth control pills work by thinning the walls of the uterus so that the egg that has been fertilized by sperm is difficult to stick there.
Common Side Effects of Birth Control Pills
Although effective in preventing pregnancy, birth control pills can also cause side effects. Some of the side effects of birth control pills that are often encountered are:
Nausea reactions due to birth control pills usually go away on their own after 2 months of use. For the time being, take birth control pills with food or after meals to avoid nausea.
If nausea is very annoying, even to the point that you don't have an appetite, ask your doctor about the best way to take birth control pills before you decide to stop or switch to another method of contraception.
2. Headache and breast pain
The side effects of these birth control pills are usually only felt once a few days. This complaint can be overcome with pain relievers that can be purchased at pharmacies, such as paracetamol. If it doesn't improve, you can change the brand of birth control pills or switch to another type of birth control according to the doctor's advice.
3. Bleeding outside of menstruation
Users of birth control pills may experience side effects in the form of bleeding outside the menstrual period. These side effects can be prevented by taking birth control pills at the same time every day. If you have been taking it regularly but still experience bleeding outside of your period, you should check with your doctor.
4. Weight gain
The side effect of birth control pills that women have always feared is weight gain. This side effect does exist if birth control pills contain high levels of estrogen so that it makes the appetite increase and triggers fluid accumulation in the body.
However, you don't have to worry. Most birth control pills currently available contain effective levels of estrogen but do not cause weight gain.
If you continue to experience these complaints while taking birth control pills, try consulting your doctor. The reason is, the weight gain that you experience may be triggered by other conditions.
5. Decreased sex drive
If you experience this, you can try a different type of birth control pill. Do not hesitate to consult a doctor, because some women can regain their sex drive after switching to birth control pills that work like androgens.
6. Sudden mood swings
Like PMS, hormonal changes that occur due to birth control pills can have an effect on mood. If the mood swings are not too severe, you can try exercise or relaxation to relieve them.
However, if mood swings lead to depression or excessive anxiety and feel very bothersome, consult a doctor. Your doctor may advise you to switch to a non-hormonal method of contraception, such as an IUD.
Possible Side Effects of More Serious Birth Control Pills
birth control pills can also have serious side effects. Although rare, these side effects need to be known so that they can be anticipated. Here are some side effects of birth control pills to watch out for:
The content of the hormone estrogen in birth control pills causes the blood to clot more easily, so there is a risk of clogging blood vessels. The result can be:
- Deep vein thrombosis in the leg, which is characterized by swelling and pain in the calf or thigh
- Heart attack, which is characterized by chest pain, cold sweat, and shortness of breath
- Stroke, which is characterized by unbearable headaches or sudden weakness of the body
- pulmonary embolism, which is characterized by sudden shortness of breath, coughing up blood, and pain when breathing in
If you experience the above symptoms, go to the ER immediately or see a doctor for treatment. Inform that you are taking birth control pills, and also tell the type and how long you have been using it.
Another serious side effect of birth control pills is an increased risk of developing breast cancer and cervical cancer. This risk will decrease after you stop taking birth control pills for 10 years.
Breast cancer and cervical cancer have a fairly high chance of cure if detected early. Therefore, it is recommended that you routinely perform BSE (breast self-examination) and undergo regular mammography and Pap smear examinations.
Groups of Women Who Should Avoid Birth Control Pills
Consuming birth control pills is fairly practical because you can do it yourself at home. However, you still have to consult a doctor first, because there are several conditions that are not recommended to use birth control pills, namely:
- Suffering from severe migraine attacks
- Over 35 years old
- Has a history of high blood pressure
- Having diabetes with complications or having diabetes for more than 20 years
- Overweight with a body mass index above 35
- Smoking or recently quitting smoking for 1 year
- Have a history of blood clots or have a family member who has had blood clots at the age of less than 45 years
- Has limited mobility for a long time, for example from using a wheelchair or wearing a leg cast
The birth control pill is very effective in preventing pregnancy. However, you should also be aware of the side effects of birth control pills and consider the risk-benefit ratio.
To minimize your risk of experiencing side effects of birth control pills and to determine whether birth control pills are suitable for you, first consult with your obstetrician. If the birth control pill is not suitable for your condition and needs, the doctor can suggest another type of contraception.