Birth Control Pill Side Effects

Most women do well on most birth control pills, and fancy adjustments in your prescription are often not necessary, because, as we have discussed, all birth control pills are very effective. So what about any potential side effects? If you compare pills with 35 mcg of estrogen to women who take 20 mcg of estrogen report less breast tenderness, less bloating and less nausea than women on 35 mcg of estrogen. We would anticipate if we looked at the group of women on a 15 or 10 mcg pill they would also have even fewer symptoms. But the benefit in those symptoms seems to be in trade for more oddities with your menstrual cycle. You are more likely to not have a period, or have a very infrequent period, and some spotting or unscheduled bleeding as well.


  1. Is there a study linking the use of birth control pills and weight gain?

  2. Most studies of birth control pills show that in the final analysis show that some women gain weight, some loose and most stay the same, roughly paralleling what happens in the population. Some studies actually have shown a slight trend towards weight gain but it "didn't meet statistical significance." If we weigh women in the first 3 months of use, especially with older, stronger pill use then we can show there may be a 3-5 lb water gain that will resolve by the 6 month check point. Thanks for your question!

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