Challenging Your Knowledge About The Pill

October 1, 2019

Emotions Gone Berserk…

Tears flooded your eyes as you attempted to finish your project at your work desk.

You clutched the edge of your desk, startled by your own emotional breakdown.

Wiping the tears away, you took a deep breath trying to complete your work.

And then it hit you. There’s absolutely nothing to be upset about. After all, work is just work. A quick glimpse around your desk brought your birth control pills into the view. Could it be the pills that made you emotional?

First Time on the Pill?

If you wish to enjoy your sex life without having to worry about getting pregnant, then choosing birth control pills is the best option for you.

But how well are you informed about how the combined pill works and its possible negative effects?

Here are some of the most common facts and myths about oral contraception:

1. Weight gain

Myth! The belief that the combined pill will cause weight gain is still widely spread, especially when taken long-term.1

Clinical studies were conducted to observe the long-term effect of the pill on body weight and no proof was found to confirm this.2,3

It’s perfectly normal if you feel that your body is expanding horizontally after taking the pill for the first time. You may experience bloating or changes in body composition, which could make you feel like you’re gaining weight.

The weight gain usually comes from water retention, not actual fat.4 Give it time for the water to go away and you should be back to your normal weight.

2. Difficulty having a baby in the future

Myth! The effects of the combined pill are completely reversible and will not affect your chances at getting pregnant once you stop taking it.5,6

You can successfully conceive and give birth to a healthy baby later in life after you stop the pill.

A study has shown that approximately 1 out of 5 women become pregnant within one month of stopping the pill.6 More than 2 out of 5 women become pregnant within three months, and approximately 4 out of 5 become pregnant within one year upon stopping oral contraception.6

3. It works no matter what

Myth! The combined pill is 99% effective and is one of the most reliable methods of preventing pregnancy, but only if you take it correctly and consistently.7

It is more effective than male or female condoms, spermicides, or vaginal diaphragms/caps.7 Less than 1 in 300 women become pregnant in their first year of use.7

It is important to make sure that you never miss a pill. If you do, the contraceptive efficacy of the pill will be reduced.

Take one pill once a day, always around the same time. Choose a time that you can easily remember, or set a reminder on your phone or computer.

4. Reduced period problems

Fact! In many cases, taking the pill can help reduce menstrual bleeding and make it more regular.8

Studies looking at the effect of combined pills on menstrual bleeding have found a reduction in menstrual blood loss of over 40%.9,10

In United Kingdom, the combined pill is recommended as a treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding in the country’s national guidelines.11

Taking the combined pill can reduce period pain as well.12 In a study of more than 1400 Swedish women, women taking the combined pill experienced significantly less period pain than non-pill users, which corresponded with greater ability to do everyday activities and less need for painkillers.12

However, irregular bleeding is also an extremely common side effect during the first few months.13 If you spot any blood on a regular day when you least expect it, you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

5. Mood swings 

Fact! Once you start taking the pill, your hormones may run wild causing your mood to change drastically, especially during the first month.

If you notice that you are moody after you have started the pill – and there are no other explanations like a break-up, family drama, or work stress – chances are the pills are starting to take effect on your mood.

Birth control pills contain estrogen that increases serotonin, a chemical that helps balance your mood.14 Monitor your mood closely once you start the pills. You can start with a logbook or a journal. If the mood swings don’t go away after 3 months, discuss it with your doctor.

Choose the Right Pills

Birth control pills come with different potential side effects, depending on how your body reacts to them, especially the first month.

To learn what you can tolerate, try out several different options until you find a pill that works for you. It might be difficult at first, but the end result carries an abundance of benefits.

References

  1. Vogt C, Schaefer M. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2011;16(3):183-93.
  2. Gallo MF, et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;(4):CD003987.
  3. Lindh I, et al. Hum Reprod. 2011;26(7):1917-24.
  4. Beksinska ME, et al. Expert Rev of Obstet Gynecol. 2011;6(1):45-56.
  5. Barnhart K, et al. Fertil Steril. 2009;91(5):1654-6.
  6. Cronin M, et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2009;114(3):616-22.
  7. Trussell J. Contraception. 2011;83(5):397-404.
  8. Bitzer J. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013;27(1):77-89.
  9. Burkman R, et al. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2004;190 (4 Suppl):S5-22.
  10. Fraser IS, McCarron G. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 1991;31(1):66-70.
  11. NICE QS47 Heavy Menstrual Bleeding. Sept 2013. Available from: http://publications.nice.org.uk/heavy-menstrual-bleeding-qs47/quality-statement-3-drug-treatment#close. Last accessed: February 2014.
  12. Lindh I, et al. Hum Reprod. 2012;27(3):676-82.
  13. Bitzer J. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013;27(1):77-89.
  14. https://www.bustle.com/articles/118631-does-the-pill-cause-mood-swings-how-hormonal-birth-control-affects-your-mood

PP-YAZ-MY-0133-1(09/19)

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