Disadvantages of Oral Contraception

Some women may experience side effects while taking birth control pills. However, most women adjust to the pill with little to no problems.

The most common side effects usually clear up the first 60 days. Those side effects include:

  • bleeding between periods (most often with progestin-only pills)
  • breast tenderness
  • nausea and vomiting

If you take your oral contraception in the evening or at bedtime, you may experience nausea or vomiting.

The hormones in the pill may alter a woman's libedo (sexual desire).

When you stop taking the pill, it usually takes one or two months for your periods to return to normal. Although uncommon, a woman may have irregular periods or no periods at all. This can go on up to six months after stopping. This is more likely if your periods were irregular before starting the pill.

Serious Side Effects of Oral Contraception

Serious problems do not occur often. Progestin-only pills have a lower risk of serious side effects than combination pills.

The progestin in YAZ, Gianvi, YASMIN, Ocella, Syeda, and Zarah, Beyaz, and Safyral may be linked to a higher risk for blood clots than other birth control pills. It can also raise potassium levels in your blood. This could cause heart and health problems.

Combination pill users have a slightly greater chance of certain rare, but serious, problems than nonusers. These problems, that may be fatal in very rare cases, include heart attack, stroke, having a blood clot in the legs, lungs, heart, or brain, or developing high blood pressure, liver tumors, gallstones, or jaundice.

The risk for these problems increases if you:

  • are 35 or older
  • are obese
  • have blood-clotting disorders
  • have diabetes
  • have high blood pressure
  • have high cholesterol
  • smoke

Serious problems usually have warning signs. Report any of these signs to your health care provider as soon as you discover them:

  • a new lump in your breast
  • a sudden intense headache
  • achy soreness in the legs
  • 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
  • breathing trouble