Are You on Pill – 8 Physiological side effects of birth control pills
By Jacquiline Go Laruan
Pregnancy is a major event in a woman’s life. It is an episode that changes you physically, psychological, and physiologically. Similarly, not getting pregnant is one big decision for women. When you decide not to have children yet, another hard choice to make is what contraceptive to use. The most common and widely used method of birth control is the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) or birth pills based on the National Statistics Office Family Health Survey. The OCP is deemed by most women very convenient and does not get in the way of actual intercourse. Also, taking pills lowers the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer according to foreign and local OB-Gyne m. “Birth control pills are very safe to use. It provides more benefits than side effects,” says Dr. Joylan Polintan Magbanua, OB consultant at MEDICard Philippines, Inc. and St. John the Baptist Medical Center. But along with its clear benefits, OCP has side effects too depending on how a woman’s body reacts to the estrogen and progestin contents. Dr. Magbanua explained the following side effects of birth control pills, which are commonly experienced by women using it, but may have or not have connection to OCP:
1. Breakthrough bleeding or spotting.
Don’t fret! Even though it is not a common side effect, the hormones in the OCP combined with estrogen may cause some women to bleed. It will go away by itself after you get your next period and may not recur.
2. Breast tenderness.
This side effect may go away after some time. If it does not and you feel uncomfortable with it, you may change the brand of your pill.
3. Nausea and headaches.
This can just be experienced in very few birth control pills containing combination of ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel.
4. Weight gain/bloating.
Gaining weight may be one side effect of the OCP that women hated the most. It happens due to the water retention effect of the OCP. Dr. Magbanua said that there are modern pills that decreases the weight gain effect, if not at all eliminate, the water in the body as a result of taking pills.
This side effect is frequent during the first cycle of taking birth control pills and is common usually to women ages 35 and above.
6. Mood swings and depression.
According to Dr. Magbanua, OCP don’t have those kinds of side effects to women using it. There are no ingredients of the pill and no study that may associate mood swings and depression to it.
This side effect is common to injectable OCP beacause it has menopausal effects.
Dr. Magbanua said that birth control pills do not induce growing of acne. There are even pills that cure it. Taking OCP or birth control pills is one good method to be a responsible woman. But before using it, remember to consult your OB-Gyne first to learn more about its benefits and side effects and how to manage these effects. ZH