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What Are the Risks of Birth Control Pills?

The risks associated with birth control pills are rare and vary based on a wide range of factors, including weight, age, medical history, lifestyle choices, and the type of birth control pill you’re taking — combination birth control or progestin-only birth control. The pill is very safe overall, but as with any birth control there are risks. The most common risks include:

Combination and Progestin-Only Birth Control Pills

  • Stroke.
  • Heart attack.
  • Blood clots.
  • No protection against sexually transmitted diseases or infections.
  • Drug interactions that might reduce the birth control pill’s efficacy.

Combination Birth Control Pills

  • Increased blood pressure.

Progestin-Only Birth Control Pills

  • Loss of libido.
  • Anxiety.
  • Loss of bone density.
  • Skin rash.

Women who smoke and women over 35 are more at risk when using combination birth control pills. Progestin-only pills are often prescribed in these cases. Having a history of clotting disorders, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol can also increase the likelihood of experiencing negative health consequences from birth control, according to MedlinePlus.gov.

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