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Contraception Conundrums: The Side Effects of Birth Control Pills

Contraception isn’t a topic you’d expect to discuss with your mother over dinner, or chinwag about with your colleagues at work. It doesn’t quite cut the mustard for kosher conversation and most often, becomes a topic best left explored between you and Google. But the truth is, the world wide web doesn’t have all the answers when it comes to birth control that’s best for you. And while each form of contraception has its own advantages, the other side of the coin is seldom talked about.

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Understanding Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are a hormone-based oral contraceptive measure designed to forestall pregnancy. They are also commonly used to treat women with infrequent menstrual cycles, endometriosis, abnormally heavy menstruation, premenstrual syndrome and acne. Birth control pills work by preventing ovulation. As long as there is no egg, there is no chance of fertilisation and subsequent pregnancy. Birth control pills come in a spectrum of compositions, with varying degrees of synthetic hormones. If you are considering moving to the pill, speak to your doctor about which one to take, in light of your health and medical profile. The success of the pill hinges on being used correctly. Remember that oral contraceptives are not a substitute for condoms and do not preclude sexually transmitted diseases.

Side Effects of Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills, while known to elicit positive results in the majority of cases, are also known to come with side effects. Before resorting to any form of birth control, it’s important to consult a doctor to mitigate any potential risks.

  • Nausea

Nausea is a common byproduct of being on the pill, but with time, the symptom should recede on its own. Taking the pill with a meal or just before bed may help relieve discomfort. If you experience nausea beyond the first 3 months, ask your doctor to re-evaluate your dosage and composition.

  • Weight Gain

Although there is no scientific evidence to suggest that oral contraceptives lead to a definite weight gain, some forms of birth control pills have been associated with a drop in lean mass.

  • Intermenstrual Spotting

Irregular bleeding that takes place between periods within the first three months of starting the pill is common and typically resolves on its own. This may take place because the uterus is still getting used to a thinner endometrial lining, or simply because of hormonal changes. If you experience intermenstrual bleeding for more than 5 days, meet a doctor to have yourself checked.

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  • Breast Tenderness

Breast tenderness or enlargement usually lasts only a few weeks. There are various home remedies for easing the pain and discomfort; reduced caffeine is known to help, as is a lowered salt quota. Wearing a snug, well-fitted bra can lend much-needed support.

  • Migraines

Though  uncommon, some women experience headaches as a result of the influx of new hormones in their body. Speak to your doctor if headaches are becoming a regular occurrence in your life. A pill with a lower composition of hormones may be the answer.

  • Mood Swings

Oral contraceptives are thought to increase emotional volatility, and rarely, lead to depression and emotional disorders. If you experience violent mood swings or irrational thoughts, reach out to your doctor immediately.

  • Altered Sex Drive

While birth control can decrease libido in some women, it can actually boost it in others. Every feminal profile is different and hence, the response to oral contraceptives may manifest in various ways as far as libido goes.

Birth control pills can be an effective contraceptive measure is used well. If you’re curious about how to transition your birth control plan, extend your conversation beyond Google. On Cloudnine, we’re here to listen.

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