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Birth Control Side Effects

Have questions about what side effects to expect when starting birth control? Get your questions answered in our FAQs.

Are There Reasons Other Than Pregnancy for Missing a Period?

While pregnancy is the most common reason for missing a period, there are other possible causes. These include: Intense exercise or significant weight loss. Women who exercise intensely or have sudden changes in body weight can experience low levels of the hormone estrogen, which can result in missed periods. Obesity: Just…

Does Birth Control Help Reduce Menstrual Clots During Your Period?

Yes, if you have heavy periods and pass menstrual clots during your period, hormonal contraceptives can help. One of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of bleeding and blood clot formation during your period is through birth control pills. Hormonal birth control pills can regulate a woman’s monthly…

Do You Ovulate When Taking Birth Control Pills?

When a woman is taking birth control pills properly, she will not ovulate. Ovulation stops because the hormones in the birth control pill prevent ovulation from occurring. Birth control pills are effective because they interfere with the hormones that initiate the process of ovulation. Preventing ovulation is one…

Does Taking Birth Control Pills Long Term Cause Infertility?

No, taking birth control pills for an extended period will not cause infertility. In fact, many women regain their ability to get pregnant as soon as they stop taking the pill regularly. One study examined 2,064 women who were previously on oral contraceptives but stopped because they…

What should I do if I develop headaches or migraines from my birth control?

If you ever have an aura associated with your headache/migraine stop your combined hormonal contraceptive immediately and let us know. An aura is a warning symptom or symptoms BEFORE the migraine, such as the perception of a bright light or zig zag lines in your vision, partial or total loss…

What should I do if I’m nauseous after I take my birth control?

Nausea is a common side effect when getting started on birth control. If you haven’t already tried taking your pill at bedtime or with food, try that first. This often helps to decrease nausea as a side effect. If you’ve been taking your pill for less than 3 months,…

What should I do if I have no sex drive on my birth control?

Reduced libido (low sex drive) is a known but unpredictable side effect of birth control. Make sure you have given your body 3 months to adjust to your birth control as your sex drive may return to normal once your body has settled in with your new pill. If it…

How do I find a birth control that doesn’t cause weight gain?

The Depo Provera shot is the only birth control method proven to cause weight gain. Most women do not gain weight on the pill, patch, or ring. When they do it is usually no more than five pounds and may be due to other causes. Some women also lose…

What should I do if I’ve been on birth control for three months and my face is still breaking out?

Usually, most women find that the consistent level of hormones in birth control actually helps with their skin. That said, everyone reacts differently to birth control. If you find that your skin is worse, and there has been no improvement after you give your current prescription about 3 months, we…

I threw up 30 minutes after taking my birth control pill. Is it still effective?

If you throw up less than 2 hours after you take your pill, it is considered a missed dose. But, the next step depends on which pill you threw up. “Missing a pill” when taking combination pills means missing the normal time you take it by 5 hours or more,…

I have bleeding during my active birth control pills, is this normal?

If the bleeding is severe: If the bleeding is heavy enough to fill 1 tampon or pad per hour for 2-3 hours in a row or you are feeling dizzy or lightheaded, we recommend you see your primary care provider or go to Urgent Care to ensure there is…

Is it normal for discharge to change when starting birth control?

Yes, it is completely normal for your discharge to change when you start taking birth control. One of the ways birth control works is by thickening your natural discharge. However, if you notice any new colors, odors, or itching feeling – please let us know. A member of our…

I just started the birth control pill and my face is breaking out, why?

Unfortunately, it is very common for women starting a new birth control to initially get more acne. Though your acne will typically clear by 6 weeks or less, it can sometimes take up to 3 months for your system to get used to the new hormonal changes and your skin…

I’m Having Heavy Spotting or Breakthrough Bleeding, Is My Birth Control Working?

In most cases, heavy spotting or breakthrough bleeding does not indicate that your birth control isn’t working. There are many reasons you might experience some spotting between periods while using birth control. However, there are some other possible causes of breakthrough bleeding that may be cause for concern, so it’s…

Is birth control going to make my period more regular?

Possibly. It depends on the type of birth control you are using. If you are using a combined hormone birth control, your period should be lighter, less painful, and more regular. If you are using a progestin-only pill, your period may be regular, irregular, or even disappear. It’s especially important…

I Haven’t Gotten My Period and I’m a Few Days Into the Placebo Pills. Am I Pregnant?

Some women miss periods while on hormonal birth control, even when they are not pregnant. This is not abnormal or dangerous (although it is a little anxiety-producing!). However, if you go two or more months in a row without a period, or you miss your period after a month…

I didn’t take my placebos to skip my period, but my period showed up anyways. What happened?

Breakthrough bleeding (BTB) is much more common when using your pill to skip periods. This typically gets better within a few cycles as your body adjusts to the pill, but continues for some women long after they’ve been using their active pills continuously. If it’s been more than a…

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