5 Common Birth Control Side Effects

5 Common Birth Control Side Effects

Birth control pills are a great medical advancement that many women use for more than just preventing pregnancy. Because side effects are normal with any type of medication, many women may experience these five common birth control side effects. If you need help controlling your side effects, discuss your options with your doctor. Luckily, most side effects ease off after the first few months.

1. Headaches
The hormones in birth control might make some women experience headaches and migraines. These headaches usually go away after some time on the pill. If you believe your birth control might be the cause of your headaches, talk to your doctor about changing the dose of your pills. Higher doses of hormones are more likely to cause headaches than lower doses. If you suffered from migraines before starting birth control, you might want to consider a low-dose option such as the mini pill. Everyone is different, but some women find that starting hormonal birth control actually lessens the amount of headaches they have.

2. Mood Changes

Mood changes are one of the common emotional side effects associated with birth control. Throughout your menstrual cycle, your hormones fluctuate. Hormonal birth control increases the presence of certain hormones in your body which can lead to mood swings. Unfortunately, if these mood changes don’t regulate with time, it is best to discontinue use of your birth control. If you suffer from depression, you need to monitor your moods closely to ensure your birth control isn’t increasing your symptoms.

3. Breakthrough Bleeding

Spotting between periods is definitely one of the more annoying physical side effects of birth control. It is more common with certain birth control methods such as the shot, mini pill, and the implant. There isn’t much you can do about breakthrough bleeding if you are on the shot or if you have the implant, but if you are taking the pill, you can reduce your chances of spotting by making sure you take your pill at the same time every day. Because breakthrough bleeding is unpredictable, you can combat it by using panty liners or wearing dark-colored underwear. Spotting usually subsides after the first few months, but if it persists or becomes heavy, contact your doctor.

4. Nausea

Some women experience mild nausea when they start using birth control. This symptom usually clears up shortly after birth control is started. If you experience nausea, try taking your pills with a snack or before bed. Progesterone-only pills are less likely to cause nausea than pills containing both progesterone and estrogen.

5. Weight Change

Many women report weight change when they start using birth control. While there is no evidence that birth control leads to extreme weight gain or loss, it can make some women retain water, so they feel like they are putting on weight. It is more common for fluids to be retained in the breasts or hips. Pills containing estrogen can make fat cells larger, but it does not lead to more fat cells. Diet and exercise can help control this side effect.