For a variety of different reasons, many women have begun using birth control pills. Regardless of the reason, whether it’s to regulate periods, mitigate cramping or safeguard against becoming pregnant, imposing synthetic hormones on a woman’s body is not as innocent and harmless as you might think.
How is Birth Control Effected?
If you’re unfamiliar with how birth control works, here is a brief summary: through releasing estrogen, progestin or both, birth control keeps the eggs from leaving the ovaries, and by making the cervical mucus thicker prevents the sperm from reaching the eggs.
So, a woman takes a pill once a day for the prescribed amount of time, repeats this cycle and in turn, depending on the intended use, wards off pregnancy and cramping pain, or regulates her periods. It seems harmless and simple enough. However, birth control is more harmful than you think.
How Dangerous can a Tiny Pill be?
Although many women adjust after beginning birth control, a large number of them still experience mild side effects. These women can experience random bleeding between periods, breast tenderness, nausea and even vomiting. Another unfortunate side effect for some women is the loss of sexual desire and drive. These side effects are usually considered conquerable for most women.
If random bleeding, tender breasts, sickness and the loss of sexual drive are not enough to change your opinion on birth control, perhaps more serious side effects that exist will alter it. Although not all birth control pills have serious side effects, according to Planned Parenthood, the progestin in YAZ, Gianvi, YASMIN, Ocella, Syeda, and Zarah, Beyaz, and Safyral may be linked to a higher risk for blood clots and can also raise potassium levels in your blood, which could cause heart and other health problems.
Other serious side effects, though considered rare, also include heart attack, stroke, blood clots in the legs, lungs, heart, or brain, developing high blood pressure, liver tumors, gallstones and yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice). These side effects increase if you:
- are age 35 or older
- are very overweight
- have certain inherited blood-clotting disorders
- have diabetes
- have high blood pressure
- have high cholesterol
- need prolonged bed rest
Birth control side effects can often be serious and sometimes dangerous but thankfully they can be caught before they strike. Signs of danger include:
- a new lump in your breast
- a sudden very bad headache
- achy soreness in the leg
- aura — seeing bright, flashing zigzag lines, usually before a very bad headache
- bad pain in your abdomen or chest
- headaches that are different, worse, or happen more often than usual
- no period after having a period every month
- trouble breathing
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
Although the majority of women taking birth control experience mild side effects at most while taking birth control, there is still a portion of users who experience dangerous side effects like the aforementioned.
A Word to the Wise
If you were previously unaware of these side effects and felt certain birth control was a harmless drug but are now questioning its potentially negative effect on your health, contact your doctor or provider to help you find a different option than birth control if it is necessary and possible.
[box type=”note”]Don’t be afraid to inquire about the dangers that could potentially harm you and affect your health negatively if you continue using it.[/box]