The birth control pill is a contraceptive that is used to prevent pregnancy. Hormones in the birth control pill control the functions of the ovaries and uterus. Most oral contraceptives are for daily consumption. Ovulation does not take place as long as a woman is taking birth control pills. The estrogen and progesterone contained in the birth control pill prevent hormonal changes that trigger ovulation. Different types of pills are available. Generally, taking a birth control pill does not cause many side effects. For any side effects apart from spotting or bleeding, one should consult a doctor. Menstrual-cycle-related side effects fade within a few months.
Side Effects and Risks of the Birth Control Pill
The pill may have positive as well as negative side effects. Positive side effects include reduced risks of developing endometrial and ovarian cancer. Contraceptive pills also reduce painful periods and treat acne. The negative side effects include increased risks of blood clots.
These side effects peak between six to twelve months of starting the birth control pills. Headache, nausea, irregular bleeding, breast tenderness, and mood swings are some side effects that a woman may face risks of developing. However, most of these side effects ease or disappear after about three months.
What a Woman Needs to Know about Risks of Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills may increase the risks of developing some types of cancers viz. breast cancer, liver cancer, and cervical cancer. However, some doctors suggest that long-term use of oral contraceptives, e.g. 10 years, may mitigate these risks.
Some medicines may increase the risks of stroke and heart attack. Though there are low risks based on a percentage of population, any woman with a tendency towards these ailments should factor in these risks. Estrogen-progestin pills may increase such risks.
B vitamins are helpful in reducing stress and heart problems. These vitamins are effective in boosting memory. Contraceptives can increase the need of B vitamins and folic acid. Hence, B vitamin should be taken along with the contraceptive.
Other risks associated with oral contraceptives include lowering the sex drive, delaying fertility, weight gain or loss, increase in the size of breasts, and decreased libido.
Some safety options can make birth control pills safe and effective. These are healthier options for any woman to adopt. The mucus method, calendar method, and temperature method are some safety methods that may be adopted. Other nonmedicinal contraceptive options include the use of condoms and cervical caps.
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