What side effects does the contraceptive pill cause?

Dr Louisa Draper

"The contraceptive pill can cause side effects and many women have to try several pills before they find one which works well for them."

Dr Louisa Draper

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The pill is a popular contraceptive but many women are confused about its side effects and safety. Which side effects can it cause and are they dangerous? With news headlines about the pill, thrombosis and cancer, it can be difficult to make sense of the health implications of the pill. Find out which side effects you may experience on the pill and what they mean.

Fact and Fiction

Fiction: You need to take regular breaks from the pill.

Fact: Incorrect - If you are happy with your pill and it isn’t causing any side effects, you can continue taking it until the menopause.

Fiction:
The pill makes you gain weight.

Fact: Some women experience weight gain while taking the pill but this side effect does not affect all women. Some pills, such as Yasmin and Cilest, are less likely to cause water retention and the associated weight gain.

Fiction: The pill is bad for your health.

Fact: While the pill can cause a slight increase in your risk of certain conditions, it also lowers your risk of other health problems, such as bowel cancer. It can also improve acne and reduce period pain.

Fiction: The hormones you take accumulate in your body.

Fact: The hormones in the pill do not remain in your body for long, that’s why you have to take it every day.