Oral birth control pills or OCPs are quite effective for preventing pregnancy. In fact, according to gynecologist in Allama Iqbal town Lahore they are 99.9 percent effective in stopping unwanted birth. Despite their effectiveness and numerous benefits, these pills are not without side effects. Read on to know more about the side effects of OCPs:
What are the common side effects of oral contraceptive pills?
The side effects of birth control pills are commonly observed and may vary from person to person. This is because they interfere with the normal sex hormones—estrogen and progesterone. These side-effects are more prominent in the beginning and subside over a period of two to three months. Switching to a different brand of birth control pills or using a different method of contraception can help if these side effects persist for longer.
Some common side effects include:
Using OCPs, particularly at the start can cause mild nausea. This can be dealt with by taking the pill at bedtime or with food.
- Breakthrough bleeding
Spotting or breakthrough bleeding may occur between menstrual cycle, especially in as the body is adjusting to the effect of birth control pills.
- Breast tenderness
Breast tenderness is quite a common side effect of OCPs. This side effect is one of the earliest to appear after starting medication. Changes in size and sensitivity of the breast are attributed to hormonal fluctuations these pills bring about. Using a more supportive bra is helpful in such cases.
- Weight changes
In theory, the hormones in OCPs cause fluid retention and gain in water weight. However, some people have reported weight loss while using birth control pills. The ultimate effect on the weight change needs more research backed data before reaching a conclusion.
For women prone to migraine and other headaches, the incidence may increase with birth control pills. The frequency of these headache attacks is linked to the dose and type of pill used.
On the other hand, women who experience premenstrual headaches, the frequency of headaches reduces with oral contraceptive pills.
- Mood fluctuations
Change of hormonal environment in the body also impacts mood and disposition. A study based in Denmark found increased incidence of depression in women taking oral contraceptive pills. More concerns about depression and anxiety can be alleviated by talking to a healthcare provider.
- Changes in libido
Fluctuation in the sex drive or libido are quite common for women taking birth control pills. Some women report increase in libido indirectly by lowering the concern of pregnancy, while others report a decrease in the sex drive. Needless to say, these changes are attributed to the hormonal changes that oral contraceptives bring in the body.
- Changes in corneal thickness
According to research data, use of oral contraceptive pills, has been associated with thickening of cornea in the eye due to hormonal changes in the body. These changes are bothersome only because they can cause discomfort with use of contact lens. Such discomforts can be managed by help of expert ophthalmologists.
- Changes in vaginal discharge
The nature of vaginal discharge can change when taking birth control pills. This can include increase in the lubrication, or decrease in vaginal discharge. Any change in vaginal discharge must be noted, as malodorous discharge or discoloration could indicate infection. For women with increased vaginal dryness, use of lubricants during sexual activity is helpful in preventing discomfort.
- Missed period
Since birth control pills contain hormones, they can cause fluctuations in menstruation. This can range from decreased bleeding during menstruation, to missed period, as well. Additional factors that increase the odds of missing a period on birth control pills include: thyroid dysfunction, increased stress, travelling and prolonged illness. According to gynecologist in bahria town Lahore for all cases of missed period, pregnancy test must be performed to rule out conception. Despite their effectiveness, pregnancy may occur due to improper use, and interference from other medication.
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