The use of birth control pills is at an increasing rate globally and most young women are consuming birth control pills recklessly, without realizing the potential side effects of the long term use of birth control pills.
Birth control pills, also known as oral contraceptive pills use hormones that prevents pregnancy by preventing ovulation. According to a recent study, ‘the pill’ is used by nearly 16% of women aged 15-44 years in the United States. But how safe are these birth control pills? Do they possess some health risks if used for longer period of time? Well, guys, I am here to answer all these questions through this article. But before that, I want to share one story that changed my whole perception about birth control pills.
My sister regularly used birth control pills, not just random ones, but those prescribed by her doctor. For the first few years, every thing was going fine, then the symptoms started to slip in slowly. It started with the feeling of bloating. She used to constantly complain that she felt bloated and later she started having episodes of severe headaches. She was even diagnosed with first stages of migraine and now she’s to take migraine medications regularly. She expressed that she regrets taking birth control pills without proper doctor consultation, without knowing its side effects.
But How Effective is Birth Control Pills?
Birth Control pills are 99.9% effective only when taken under proper doctor consultation, in exact dosage, in exact time. But most women make mistakes while having it as 6 to 12 pregnancies in every 100 are thought to occur each year while using it. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that these birth control pills do not protect you from STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) like HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis and so on.
From ceaseless nausea to depression, here are some of the less known yet severe side effects of the long term use of birth control pills.
1.Headaches and Nausea
Contraceptive pills contain synthetic forms of hormones, either progesterone, estrogen or both. These synthetic pills might make some women feel queasy with persistent headaches for months. The feeling of nausea might last up to three months. Also, a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2005 showed that nearly 10% of women felt headaches and dizziness during the first few months of starting a new oral contraceptive pills.
Another long term effect of birth control pills is risk of candidiasis, aka vaginal yeast infections. Yeast infections are likely due to change in the menstruation pattern induced by the birth control pills. Regular intake of birth control pills disrupts the body’s natural hormonal balance and this increases the risk of yeast infections. Also, doctors believe that the estrogen in birth control pills can cause vagina to produce more sugars and high sugar level favors the over growth of yeast in the vagina.
Intermenstrual spotting, characterized by seeing blood clots between your period. Some experiences 5 or more days of bleeding after consuming the pills while there have been cases of heavy bleeding for 3 or more days. In such cases, its very important to contact your health care professional. Bleeding usually occurs due to the adjustment of the uterus in having thinner endometrial lining as the pills induce variable levels of hormones in your body.
Also Read: Six Signs That You Have Hormonal Imbalance
Another side effect of long term use of birth control pills is tender breasts. Birth control pills cause either breast enlargement or tender breasts. This normally resolves a few weeks after starting the pill. Anyone who finds a lump in the breast or who has persistent pain or tenderness or severe breast pain should seek medical help.
5. Cancer Risks
This is a controversial topic to tell otherwise because studies have shown that birth control reduces the risk of different types of cancers in women like endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancers. However, a new study published on American Cancer Society(ACS) stated that the long term use of birth control pills increases the risk of breast cancer. The ACS also report that taking birth control for more than 5 years may increase the risk of cervical cancer. The longer people take the pill, the higher their risk. However, the risk should go back down gradually when someone stops taking the pill.
Well, it’s always better to prevent the complications of birth control pills by adopting other alternatives to prevent pregnancy. Using condoms, and other means of contraceptives like NuvaRing, Intrauterine devices, contraceptive implants, sterilization and so on is effective to get rid of side effects of birth control pills.