Oral contraception Side effects
A small number of women may experience side effects from taking oral contraceptives and they can range from negligible to irritating. These are but not limited to:
- Temporary Weight Gain
- Breast Tenderness
- Breakthrough Bleeding
- Mood disturbances
However most of the symptoms are temporary and often reassurance that symptoms will likely resolve within three to five months is often the only treatment required.
1. Temporary Weight Gain
This is a major concern for many women and has already been covered under week 1 of the contraceptive awareness week, click here to read more.
Nausea is a common side effect faced by a small number of women and can produce the sensation of vomiting when starting the pill. If you have had taken emergency contraceptives before and had experienced such a side effect, do inform your doctor in advance.
As the body adjusts to the introduction of new hormones, the stomach lining can be irritated. There aren’t much differences between different types of contraceptives but most side effects go away after a few days.
If your symptoms become severe, unbearable or prolonged, see your doctor who may be able to help and to make sure that there isn’t something else that is causing your symptoms.
3. Breast Tenderness
There are a few types of oral hormonal contraception. Switching to a combined oral contraceptive (COC) such as Yasmin or Yaz may decrease breast tenderness after 18 months. Between different combined oral contraceptive formulations, there arent much differences.
Breast tenderness is more common in women who use the norelgestromin/ethinyl estradiol contraceptive patch than in those who use combined oral contraceptives.
4. Breakthrough Bleeding
Some breakthrough bleeding is common during the first months of starting the combined oral contraceptives. You can be reassured that spotting is completely normal.
Progestin-only and progesterone type of hormonal contraception are also associated with bleeding irregularities and it may be possible to change to a different type of contraceptive to avoid the side effects.
If your breakthrough occurs when with extended cycle regimens, the pill can be stopped for 3-4 days then restarted. Seek advise from your doctor if your symptoms are persistent.
5. Mood Disturbances
Mood disturbance is a relatively rare side effect that will go away with time. If your symptoms are persistent, it may be due to another cause and we would advised for you to seek medical attention.