Information here is general in nature. Over time information may get changed, contradicted or added to. You should always consult a medical practitioner or pharmacist for up to date and comprehensive information.
Side Effects of the Birth Control Pill may also apply to other hormone based methods
Also note that hormone based birth control methods may be ineffective if you are taking antibiotics and some may react with other medication you may be taking.
Possible side effects of the birth control pill, both bad and good, are described briefly below. If using other kinds of hormone based birth control you should talk to your doctor or pharmacist about them as well as "the Pill".
The Pill - too good to be true?:
Do birth control pills sound too good to be true? Well there can be problems and side effects. If a woman forgets to take a pill one day, she should take two the next day. If she forgets two days in a row, she should take two as soon as she remembers, then two more the next day. Then back to her normal one-a-day. Since missing the pills can cause the hormone levels in her body to drop, an ovary might also drop an egg for fertilization by any sperm cell that happens to be around after intercourse. So if she's missed two days, she should use another method of birth control for the rest of her monthly cycle. In fact, some couples will always use two types of birth control, often the Pill, plus condoms, to increase their odds of not getting pregnant.
If she has missed taking her Pill for three or more days, she should use another contraceptive for the rest of her cycle and either follow the instructions that come with the pills or talk to her doctor. Any time she has missed any days, she can start over at the beginning of her next cycle, using the backup method until then.
If she is just starting out using birth control pills, she should not rely on them at all for the first month, but should use another contraceptive for the whole month. And remember, these pills must be taken every day as directed, not just when she's going to have sex!
There can also be side effects for some females. Also, like with the Patch, and the NuvaRing, females who smoke, or are over 35 should not use the Pill. Any user of the Pill may get some, all, or none of these symptoms:
nausea, tender or sore breasts, bloating , or a rash. She can also gain or lose some weight, have "spotting" which is slight bleeding from her vagina, or get headaches. If she has some of these side effects, especially spotting or headaches she should see her doctor. There may be vomiting, and increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, or blood clots. It may not be suitable for you, depending on your medical history.
What about good side effects?
Some research says that Birth Control Pills might reduce a woman's risk of cancer of the ovaries, endometrial cancer (which develops in the lining of the uterus), cysts on the ovaries, benign (not cancerous) lumps in her breasts, and PID. PID is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, which is infection and inflammation of a woman's upper genital tract, including the uterus and Fallopian tubes. Sometimes you will hear of other research which says that there are no benefits and maybe even other dangers. Your doctor or gynecologist would be the best person to ask about the latest research and how reliable it is.
The list of possible side effects above is not a complete list. You are basically changing your body's chemistry so you need to consult with your doctor. And don't be embarrassed about asking any question; do you really want to come back later? Write down questions before going in.
Birth control pills, at least in North America, can be gotten from most doctors and medical clinics. Often the Health Services at Universities will also provide consultation and prescriptions. Please, do not use someone else's B.C. pills! It's your body, not theirs, and you need to talk to your doctor.