Birth control pills, also called oral contraceptives, are medications you take by mouth to prevent pregnancy. They are an effective method of birth control.

Not every type of pill is a good fit for every woman. Talk to your doctor about which pill option would work best for you.

If taken correctly, birth control pills are very effective in preventing pregnancy. According to the CDC, both the combination pill and the progestin-only pill have 9 percent failure rates with typical use. That means out of 100 women using the pill, 9 would get pregnant.

However, with birth control pills come some side effects, some women are aware of these side effects while some are not. This is because, at times, there are changes in the body system.  According to WebMD, below are some common side effects of birth control pills:

Spotting between periods
Breakthrough bleeding, or spotting, refers to when vaginal bleeding occurs between menstrual cycles. It may look like light bleeding or brown discharge. Spotting is the most common side effect of birth control pills. It happens because the body is adjusting to changing levels of hormones, and the uterus is adjusting to having a thinner lining. Taking the pill as prescribed, usually every day and at the same time each day can help prevent bleeding between periods.

Nausea
Some people experience mild nausea when first taking the pill, but this usually subsides. Taking the pill with food or at bedtime may help. Birth control should not make people feel sick all the time. If the nausea is severe or lasts for a few months, it is best to talk to a healthcare provider.

Breast tenderness
Taking birth control pills often causes the breasts to feel tender, especially soon after a person starts taking them. Wearing a supportive bra can help reduce breast tenderness. Along with increased breast sensitivity, the hormones in the pill can make the breasts grow bigger. A person should talk to their healthcare provider about severe breast pain or other breast changes, especially a new or changing breast lump.

Weight gain
Birth control pills often list weight gain as a possible side effect, though research has not yet confirmed this. In theory, birth control pills could lead to increases in fluid retention or water weight. They could also lead to increases in fat or muscle mass. However, some people may instead report weight loss when taking the pill.

Mood changes
Hormones play an important role in a person’s mood and emotions. Changes in hormone levels, which taking the pill may cause, can affect a person’s mood. If a person is concerned about mood changes, they can talk to their healthcare provider. If the symptoms are linked to taking the pill, changing pills may help.

Always remember to speak to your health care provider before taking any medication.

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