“The combined oral contraceptive pill is usually just called “the pill”. It contains artificial versions of female hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which women produce naturally in their ovaries and although it is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy it can damage your health in different ways.” (NHS Contraception Guide, 2017)
There can be many side effects to taking the contraceptive pill, yet we still continue to take them on a daily basis to prevent pregnancy. But sometimes these side effects can be more serious than most and you should never ignore the warning signs.
What most people choose to ignore when on the pill is the persistent mood swings, but when ignored for too long, this can lead to longer-term effects such as depression and migraines.
Some disadvantages of the pill include:
- Temporary side effects at first, such as headaches, nausea, breast tenderness and mood swings – if these do not go after a few months, it may help to change to a different pill
- Increased blood pressure
- Does not protect you against STIs
- Breakthrough bleeding and spotting is common during the first few months of using the pill
- It has been linked to an increased risk of some serious health conditions, such as thrombosis (blood clots) and breast cancer
(NHS Contraception Guide, 2017)
When taken for a long period of time, the contraceptive pill can decrease the chances of pregnancy, so should be monitored by your GP at regular check-ups.
Some women develop brain aneurysms or blood clots due to long-term use of pills that have a high risk of causing problems. It is important to consult your doctor to find the best pill to suit your lifestyle, but it can be a long process to find a pill that you are happy with.
Depression can affect many women who take the pill and causes many to have mood swings and become more emotional.
It can leave you feeling happy one second to sad the next or feeling distant from those around you. Not only does it leave you feeling like this, but you can feel uninterested in hobbies and fatigued a lot of the time. If this is you, it is not something to be ashamed of as it is perfectly natural to react in such a way when adding extra hormones to the body.
However, it is not something you have to live with forever as there are a variety of pills out there to suit everyone. There are other options for contraception which are similar to the pill such as the contraceptive patch, which would suit those who aren’t a massive fan of the coil, implant, or injection, although those are still an option to consider.
To help you make a decision on which contraceptive method is best for you, visit the NHS guide.
Words: Steph Hazlegreaves
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