Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Most Common Birth Control Side Effects

When my younger daughter started taking "the pill," she started experiencing many of the hormone-related birth control side effects that I'd taken for granted for years. With there being so many options on the market today, and Google-info-geek that I am, I thought it might be an idea to check into the ways to alleviate birth control side effects... mostly so I wouldn't have to listen to her whine ;)

Headache, Dizziness, Breast Tenderness: Wait it out. Once your body gets used to the influx of hormones from "the pill," these symptoms will likely subside all on their own. If not? Talk to your doctor about switching brands.

Nausea: Nausea will also subside after a few months. Remember that birth control is tricking your body into thinking it is pregnant, so you are experiencing the equivalent of morning sickness. If you are taking an oral contraceptive pill, try taking it with some food. If you are using NuvaRing or a contraceptive patch, you may need to switch methods entirely.

Breakthrough Bleeding: Now this is a birth control side effect that can drive you completely crazy! Mostly because you never know when it will happen. If you are on the pill, try taking it at exactly the same time every day. Spotting can also be prevented by taking an anti-inflammatory or additional estrogen. Discuss it with your doctor if it continues.

Decreased Libido: Adjust your method. Switching to a more testosterone based product will take care of this in a jiffy ;)

Mood Swings: If your hormone-based birth control method is indeed causing mood swings, all hormone based products will likely have the same effect. Doctors usually prescribe an anti-depressant to combat mood swings due to birth control.

Cost: My daughter is still trying to get over the fact that her health insurance provider covers Viagra for their male members, but not her birth control! (Come to think of it, I am still trying to get over that too!) Check into coupons for your birth control prescription. Coupons, discounts and patient assistance programs are usually available from the manufacturer's website. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist about samples, rebates and exclusive savings offers.

Pregnancy! Yep, pregnancy! My daughter got pregnant her third month into being on "the pill." After she figured she was regulated and ready to depend on it as her sole means of birth control. Starting on a hormone-based birth control method can be tricky and usually requires adjustments over time. Sometimes your dose isn't high enough to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. While we would not trade our (now 2 year old) bundle of joy for anything!... you may want to use a back up method until you are sure that you are on the right dose... and of course taking your pill as close to the same time as you can every day helps too :) If you miss a day, be sure to use an alternate method for sure!

Disclaimer: This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please talk to your doctor for specific information about addressing side effects from using various methods of birth control. 

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