Birth Control Pills: Side Effects, Benefits, & Effectiveness

There are different birth control methods available today, including the pill, which is a hormonal contraception. The pill can be taken by mouth and is used by women to prevent pregnancy. Read on to know more about the effectiveness, benefits, and side effects of birth control pills.

Birth control pills are also called the pill and oral contraceptive pills. They are small tablets, with most containing two types of man-made or synthetic female hormones. These are progestin and estrogen, and they are similar to the ones that the ovaries produce. These pills are combination oral contraceptives, and they are available in many different kinds. There is another type of pill that only contains one hormone, which is progestin. This is called the mini pill or the progestin-only pill.

Effectiveness of Birth Control Pills

If taken at the same time daily, the pill can be very effective with a rate of over 99%. This means that less than one woman is going to get pregnant in one year if one hundred women use the combination pill daily. Bear in mind, though, that the pill is often regarded as 92% effective, because both adults and teens find it difficult to use it perfectly every day.

Benefits of Birth Control Pills

The pills provide medical benefits as well. Many teenage girls actually take the pill for its medical benefits instead of to protect themselves against pregnancy. These benefits include:

Lighter and regular periods: The oral contraceptive pills usually cause lighter periods and can assist in regulating the menstrual cycle for periods to come every twenty-eight days. When taking birth control pill, your uterine lining will not become very thick, and this causes very little blood to come out monthly. You might get a period every three months or less if you are using the extended cycle pills.

Less or no cramps: You can experience less menstrual cramps when using birth control pills.

Clearer skin: The hormones in most birth control pills could actually improve your acne. However, you have to be patient, as it might take a few months for you to see the improvement.

Other medical benefits: Menstrual bleeding will be less when you are taking birth control pills. Girls on the pill are a lot less likely to be anemic. The pills will also reduce your chance of having ovarian cysts, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer. Birth control pills will protect against any pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus, such as ectopic or tubal pregnancies.

Possible Side Effects of Birth Control Pills

Most women don’t experience any side effects when using the oral contraceptive pills. However, it is possible for you to have headaches, irregular periods, weight change, or nausea in the first few months.

Headaches: The pill could worsen or improve headaches. If you are suffering from migraine headaches, you should talk to your doctor to find out whether or not the pill is the best thing for you. An oral contraceptive pill that has lower amounts of estrogen can be prescribed if your headaches are related to the one you are using.

Irregular periods: You could notice spotting or very light bleeding within the first one to three weeks of starting the pill, or if you miss a pill. You should continue using the pill and consult your doctor if the bleeding gets heavier or is lasting for more than just a few days or if you start to bleed after taking the pill for just a few months.

Weight change: There are reports that some teenagers gain weight, while others lose weight when taking the pill. The pill has no calories, but you should remember to avoid fast food, watch food portion sizes, eat 5 to 13 vegetable and fruit servings daily, drink a lot of water, and exercise regularly while using this contraceptive.

Nausea: Most women have nausea occasionally when taking the pill for the first time, but this feeling often goes away in few days. It’s more likely to happen if you take the pill with a snack at bedtime or after dinner.

Enlarged or sore breasts: Some women occasionally get larger and/or tender breast. The tenderness often goes away after few months.

Mood changes: It is unlikely that the pill will cause your emotions to change, but anyone could have this experience. You should talk to your doctor about what you are feeling.

If any of these side effects occur, you can expect them to be mild. They will go away within the first 3 to 4 months of use. You should talk to your doctor if you have side effects, especially ones which make you uncomfortable or won’t go away.

Birth control pills can be taken by almost all young women and teens. There are actually a few reasons why a doctor might recommend that you choose another birth control method.

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