What are some side effects associated with birth control?

What are some side effects associated with birth control?

To prevent pregnancy, estrogen and progestins work together to regulate monthly bleeding and result whether an individual conceives or not. Natural sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone play a vital role in regulating bodily function, and the use o birth control changes the level of these hormones which can also result in affecting other body organ functionalities and cause side-effects.

Common side effects associated with birth control include changes to the menstrual period, resulting in heavier or lighter monthly bleeding, spotting or no bleeding at all. Headaches, breast tenderness/pain and nausea are common side-effects associated with birth control whereas some side-effects are more specific to the form of birth control taken. Birth control taken in the form of a skin patch can cause skin irritation and itchiness depending on where the patch is applied, whereas for vaginal rings may cause vaginal irritation/discomfort and cause in vaginal discharge. And as for IUDs, they can cause discomfort and pain in the lower abdominal area.

Less known birth control side-effects are changes in vaginal discharge, with vaginal secretions being thicker making it difficult for sperm to move, or change in colour. Hair loss, dry eyes, changes in sex drive, and changes in mood are also side-effects that may result due to the intake of birth control. Some of the long-term risks are linked to birth control, but low risks are breast cancer or the rise in risk of developing blood clots.

Individuals that are more prone to experiencing risks associated with birth control include individuals with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) experiencing hair loss, and dry eyes for those who have diabetes, thyroid problems or certain autoimmune conditions. To lower side-effects of dry eyes, over-the-counter artificial tears can be taken along with drinking lots of water. For vaginal dryness, over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers and lubricants may be used to relieve the dryness associated with birth control intake.

Although there is nothing in particular to lower the risks of these side-effects mentioned, there are plenty of ways to help relieve these symptoms, and trying out different birth control to see which best suits your body can help lessen the side effects, along with the consultation of your healthcare provider.


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Article Written By: Maheen Yaqoob, AI Computer Engineer