Birth control is used all over the world. The main use of birth control is to avoid unplanned pregnancy. Although there are various means of birth control, birth control pills are popular because they have a good success rate and are relatively safe for the majority of the population.
Birth control pills can be harmful for you if you:
- Are pregnant or suspect pregnancy.
- Plan to have surgery with prolonged bed rest.
- Are a smoker with a high blood pressure.
- Have uncontrolled high blood pressure or diabetes.
- Have lupus.
- Have migraines with aura.
- Smoke and are older than 35 years.
- Have blood clots or a history of blood clots.
- Have a history of stroke or heart attack.
- Have coronary artery disease.
- Have or suspect breast cancer or cancer of the uterus, cervix, or vagina.
- Have unexplained vaginal bleeding.
- Have jaundice during pregnancy or previously used the pill.
- Have liver tumor.
- Are breastfeeding.
- Have kidney disease.
- Have adrenal insufficiency.
- Have certain forms of lupus.
- Have breast cancer.
Hence, it is advisable not to take birth control pills if you have the above medical conditions.
People taking the following drugs should either avoid birth control pills or use other method of birth control:
- Seizure medications such as:
- Tuberculosis medication rifampin
- Antifungal drug griseofulvin
- Bronchodilators such as theophylline
- St. John's wort
- Anti-human immunodeficiency virus (anti-HIV) drugs
What are the complications associated with birth control pills?
Complications of birth control pills are rare but severe. Birth control pills can increase the risk of certain conditions, which include:
- Blood clots in the legs
- Heart attacks and stroke, especially if you smoke
- Liver disorders
- Gallbladder disease
- Severe diabetes
In rare cases, birth control pills can lead to death due to above complications.
What warning signs of birth control pills should I know?
Consult a physician immediately if you experience these symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Breast lump
- Chest pain
- Difficulty speaking
- Eye problems, such as blurred or double vision or loss of vision
- Jaundice (yellowish discoloration of the skin)
- New or worsening headaches
- Severe allergic skin rash
- Severe leg pain or swelling
- Severe mood swings
- Two missed periods or signs of pregnancy
Why do I need birth control?
When taken correctly, birth control pills can provide various benefits, including:
- Reduced risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers, ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cysts, and benign breast disease
- Improvement in acne
- Less-severe dysmenorrhea (severe menstrual cramps)
- Decline in androgen production caused by polycystic ovary syndrome
- Decrease in heavy menstrual bleeding due to uterine fibroids and other causes, as well as a reduction in related iron iron-deficiency anemia
- Eases premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Shorter, lighter, and more-predictable periods or, for some types of combination pills, fewer periods yearly
- Better control of the menses and a reduction in hot flashes for women nearing menopause
- Take a 6-month break after taking the oral pills for a long time
As a word of caution, it is always safe to consult your physician or healthcare professional before taking any birth control pill. Birth control pills are mostly safe and do not cause any side effects in most people.
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