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Side Effects of Birth Control Pills

There are no birth control pills without side effects, as evidenced by voluminous instructions for use and reviews. Do not be afraid of side effects! It is important to understand why they occur, and what measures a woman should take in such a situation.

Side Effects of Birth Control Pills

List of common side effects of birth control pills

  • Anxiety, depression, memory impairment;
  • mood swings;
  • cramps;
  • diarrhea, gas;
  • dizziness, fatigue;
  • hives, rash, itching;
  • hypertension;
  • headache, migraine;
  • numbness, tiredness;
  • dark urination;
  • blurred vision;
  • vomiting

Early side effects as you get used to the drug

  • Continuing nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain. Estrogen-dependent side effects, which usually disappear by the start of the second package of the medication. In such a situation, it is recommended to take the drug at night (not on an empty stomach), which will help to get used to the preparation easier or to switch to a drug with a lower dose of estrogen;
  • Bloody discharge. Blood smearing is most often observed during the period of adaptation (addiction) to the intake of contraceptive pills;
  • Ragging of the mammary glands. This is the estrogen-dependent side effect observed in the first 3-6 months of taking any contraceptive pills. It disappears after some time, no treatment is required. Sometimes a doctor can recommend applying progestogen gel to the area of the mammary glands;
  • Changing mood (tearfulness, depression, irritability). The gestagen component of birth control pills changes the metabolism of tryptophan in the body. In this regard, emotional, supersensitive representatives of the fair sex in the adaptation period may have a desire to cry, or vice versa, aggression and irritability;
  • Minor hair loss. This side effect is caused by hormonal changes occurring in the body of a woman taking birth control pills. Sometimes you can see a diffuse (uniform throughout the head) hair loss. Slight hair loss should not cause concern. Do not discontinue reception of the drug but consult a doctor to exclude the most common causes of hair loss: iron deficiency in the body, zinc deficiency, thyroid dysfunction, nervous system diseases. ATTENTION!!! If you lose hair in large quantities, you need to see a doctor and decide whether to replace the drug. In such a situation, it is usually recommended to switch to birth control pills with anti-androgenic effect;
  • Headache. If this side effect occurs, expectant management is recommended. If the headaches do not disappear at the end of the adaptation period (3-4 months) but rather intensify and significantly worsen the quality of life, you need to see a doctor and pick up the drug with another progestogen;
  • Acne, oily skin. In the first months of taking birth control pills with anti-androgenic (medical-cosmetic) effect, there may be a deterioration of the skin condition, a rash or acne. In this case, you need to be patient and wait for the end of the adaptation period. After 3-4 months, the antiandrogenic preparation “teaches” the body to work properly and the skin clears. Nevertheless, recent studies have shown that with regard to hirsutism (excess hair), the contraceptive pill does not have the expected effect;
  • Pain in leg muscles. The estrogens contained in contraceptives increase the concentration of Ca2 + in the blood plasma. A temporary change in the metabolism of minerals in the blood can cause pain in the muscles and joints of the legs. Women describe these pains as “aching, chewing, twisting”. Usually, by the end of the second pack, the pains disappear. You can help yourself to survive this temporary side effect by massage the calf muscles with warming ointments.

Not serious side effects of birth control pills

There are also possible side effects associated with taking birth control pills, which are not pathological and do not require the replacement of the drug but they are considered to be secondary:

  • Amenorrhea (absence of a period). The absence of a menstrual reaction in a seven-day break between packages can occur against the background of taking any contraceptive pills but most often this phenomenon is observed when taking preparations containing dienogest. This progestogen reduces the growth and thickening of the endometrium;
  • Weight gain. This side effect occurs due to a delayed excess fluid in the body, increased appetite, endocrinological disorders.

Continuous side effects requiring replacement of the drug

If any of the following side effects occur, you should always contact the gynecologist and decide on the replacement of the contraceptive:

  • Bloody discharge (bleeding) or breakthrough bleeding, continuing after the end of the adaptation period, i.e. after 3-4 months of admission;
  • Frequent headaches, sharply worsening the quality of life, and requiring a constant intake of painkillers;
  • Recurrent vaginal candidiasis (thrush), which manifested itself for the first time with the start of taking birth control pills and not amenable to traditional treatment with antifungal drugs;
  • Fluid retention in the body (severe swelling);
  • A sharp decrease in libido (sexual desire) and dryness of the vaginal mucosa;
  • Strong hair loss.

Quitting side effects (requiring an immediate withdrawal of the drug)

If the following side effects occur, you should cancel the drug, immediately consult a doctor and conduct an additional examination:

  • Acute pain, a feeling of squeezing or heaviness in the chest; shortness of breath or shortness of breath; sudden shortness of breath;
  • Sudden, severe headache for no apparent reason, fainting;
  • A significant increase in blood pressure;
  • Sudden changes in vision, hearing, or speech;
  • Severe forms of depression;
  • Permanent itching.

Also, contraceptive pills should be taken 3 months before the planned pregnancy, and approximately 6 weeks before the planned surgery, with prolonged immobilization.

If there are violations of the liver, you may need to temporarily stop the drug before the normalization of laboratory indicators.

In conclusion, the most important thing is always to adequately assess the benefits of taking birth control pills and their potential risks to health. Many years of experience shows that having gained patience, you can choose the only drug that will be perfect for you.