Birth Control Pills: Types, Benefits & Side Effects
Birth Control Pills are one of the most effective oral contraception methods for women. Birth control pills or combination birth control pills come in the form of tablets and have a shot of oestrogen and progestin. These pills either prevent ovulation, prevent fertilisation or implantation.
In this article, you will know about the side effects and other important facts related to these pills.
What Are the Types of Birth Control Pills?
There are generally 2 types of pregnancy control pills. These are combination pills and mini pills or progestin-only pills. A detailed discussion of these 2 types is as follows:
1. Combination Pills
Combination pills have both oestrogen and progestin in synthetic forms. These hormones regulate the menstrual and ovulation cycle. These pills generally come in a 28-days pack where most of them carry hormones and are considered active. On the other hand, some of the pills are inactive and do not contain hormones. Different types of combination pills are as follows:
- Monophasic Pills: Monophasic pills have the same dose of hormones and should be continued for a 1-month cycle. So, during the last week of the cycle, you will still have your periods if you skip the inactive pills.
- Multiphasic Pills: These pills are also for use for 1 month continuously; however, these will give you a different level of hormonal shots. You can also skip the inactive pills and get periods in the last week of taking multiphasic pills.
- Extended-Cycle Pills: These pills have a time limit of 13 weeks and women can stop having them at the 12th week and get their periods. In this way, they can limit the occurrence of a menstrual cycle 3-4 times a year.
2. Mini Pills or Progestin Only Pills
From the name, it is pretty clear that these pills contain only progesterone and no oestrogen. These pills also help to manage heavy periods. Further, these pills are suitable for women who have a family history of heart disease, stroke, migraine, deep vein thrombosis, peripheral vascular disease, etc. In addition, women who are older than 35 years and smokers should take mini pills instead of the combination ones to avoid blood clot issues.
What Are the Side Effects of Birth Control Pills?
There are some common and severe pregnancy pills side effects which are discussed below:
1. Common Side Effects
Some of the common and less-severe side effects of birth control pills are as follows:
- Weight Gain: Birth control pills increase the fluid quantity in your body. Thus females may notice a little weight gain while taking these pills. In some cases, these pills also cause mass or fat gain.
- Swollen and Tender Breasts: Birth control pills cause breast tenderness and swelling. Further, they also increase breast size. However, in this situation, women may wear a supportive bra and also contact a physician if they notice abnormal growth or pain.
- Mood Swings: Mood swings are very common with hormonal doses. As these pills contain synthetic hormones thus, taking these will cause several changes in a woman's body that will directly affect her mood.
- Spotting Between Periods: Spotting refers to the breakthrough bleeding that may occur between menstrual cycles. Sometimes it is very light bleeding or a mere brown discharge. However, spotting is very common as the uterus is adjusting to the effects of pills. If one takes pills at the same time every day it will help to avoid spotting.
- Upset Stomach: A high dose of oestrogen can cause irritation in the stomach. Thus, emergency contraceptive pills are more likely to cause upset stomachs as they carry a high dose of oestrogen.
- Nausea: Feeling nauseous is also a common side effect of birth control pills. However, if one takes these pills with food or before bedtime it may help to avoid nausea. Generally, nausea does not last for a long time, but if it does one should consult a physician.
- Headaches: Changes in the female sex hormones may trigger migraine and headaches. The severity of the headache depends on the type of pills and the dosage.
- Changes in Vaginal Discharge: Oral contraceptive pills may cause changes in vaginal lubrication and vaginal discharge. Further, it may also cause vaginal dryness that can cause discomfort during sexual intercourse.
- Decreased Libido: Hormonal pills can cause a decrease in libido count and also affect sex drive. These also happen due to hormonal changes.
2. Severe Side Effects
In rare cases, women may face these severe side effects from taking birth control pills:
- Blood clot or deep vein thrombosis
- Heart diseases
- Severe chest pain
- Leg pain and swelling
- Thigh swelling
- Blurry vision
- Unbearable headache
Thus, it is always advisable to take birth control pills by maintaining proper guidelines written on the packaging. Further, if a woman has any underlying health issue, she should consult a physician before taking such oral contraception.
What Are the Benefits of Pregnancy Pills?
There are also some beneficial effects of pregnancy pills which are as follows:
- These pills lessen the chances of getting acne.
- They also prevent bone thinning.
- Birth control pills help control premenstrual syndromes.
- They lessen the chances of breast cancer.
- These pills are also helpful for reducing the chances of growing breast or ovarian cysts.
- Birth control pills also keep women out of the risks of ovarian or endometrial cancer.
- These pills are excellent remedies for iron deficiency.
- Anti-pregnancy pills help make the menstrual cycle better and cramp free.
- These pills also lower unwanted hair growth.
Thus, birth control pills are beneficial for health and they are super convenient and affordable. So, it is a great option for contraception for females.
What Are the Side Effects of Stopping Birth Control?
Some side effects of stop taking anti-pregnancy pills are as follows:
- The menstrual Cycle Becomes Irregular: Due to the birth control pills women generally enjoy long breaks between menstrual cycles. However, when they stop taking pills the hormonal regulation becomes normal again and they start having regular periods. Sometimes, they may notice irregular periods or some unusual menstrual complications. In addition, if your period has been stopped for a long time it may take 2-3 months to start again.
- Heavy Periods: After stopping birth control pill consumption women may face heavier periods than usual. In addition, they may also get severe abdominal cramps during the menstrual cycle. This is because of the removal of the effects of hormones that are beneficial for regulating the menstrual cycle smoothly.
- A Little Weight Loss: Due to the progestin-only pills, women may gain a little weight which they will lose after they stop taking the pills. However, it is not that effective and cannot be counted as a serious complication.
- Premenstrual Syndromes May Return: Birth control pills are really effective in reducing PMS symptoms. Thus, women who are on birth control enjoy a worry-free menstrual cycle. However, if they stop taking pills the health complications may arrive again.
- Getting Ovulation: As soon as one stops taking birth control pills, ovulation starts. Thus, women may face a little pain in their pelvis areas and get more vaginal discharge than usual.
- Growth of Unwanted Hair and Acne: Birth control pills help to reduce the growth of acne and unwanted hair. Thus, you may get back the growth again after stopping these pills.
- The Chances of Pregnancy Increase: As one stops consuming birth control pills the chances of pregnancy increase automatically. The pregnancy rate after stopping pill taking is high almost like barrier methods.
What Are the Risks of Birth Control Pills?
Some potential risk factors of birth control pills are as follows:
- Having a stroke previously
- Having untreated hypertension
- Blood clots
- A family history of heart disease
- Having migraine with aura
What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of Birth Control Pills?
Some long-term side effects of birth control pills are as follows:
Birth control pills sometimes cause serious cardiovascular diseases in the long run. Thus, women with high blood pressure issues or other cardiovascular ailments should take these pills after consulting with a physician.
In rare cases, excessive ups and downs in the female hormone level can trigger different types of cancers, such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, and ovarian cancer.
Thus, the discussion has clearly brought out a detailed discussion on birth control pills and their side effects. It is quite clear that these pills are extremely effective not only for birth control but also for regulating female reproductive hormones.
However, there are some guidelines to follow and certain risk factors too. Thus, it is always advisable to consult a physician to avoid any complications from oral contraceptive pills.