Side Effects Are Most Common The First Month
There are a few unwelcome side effects caused by taking the pill. They include, but are not limited to headaches, nausea, tenderness of the breast, and short bouts of bleeding during periods. The most popular timing of these side effects is usually during the first month of using the pill.
Adjusting to the Pill in the first month
The first month or first two to three cycles will be the most critical in you and your body’s adjustment to the pill. The sides effects mentioned above usually go away by the second and third months. While the side effects can be uncomfortable, they are not life threatening and there are some tactics that you can use to lessen their effect.
Breast tenderness and the occasional mood changes are usually minor and brief so it is best to let the ride their course.
If you are feeling nauseous, it typically helps to take the pill with food. Eating before taking the pill will help calm the nausea.
Some women experience an acne flare up, but again this is short-lived. As a matter of fact, many women report that being on the pill clears their acne.
Weight gain and fluid retention is yet another complaint that some women report during their first month on the pill. Generally the weight gain is not substantial. Remember to maintain a healthy diet, decrease your salt intake and exercise regularly. This will minimize the weight gain.
The one side effect that alarms most women during that first month is the break through bleeding (or “spotting” as it is most commonly referred as). This is no cause for alarm as your doctor will tell you. This also does not mean that you should change the pill that was recommended to you by your physician; it is a normal occurrence during the use of birth control pills and may also disappear after the first month.
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Severe Adverse Effects
The few symptoms you experience during the first month of using the pill are usually temporary and will most likely disappear within the first two months. While they are not life-threatening, there are some symptoms to watch out for as you continue to take the pill and these are things that you should report to your doctor.
These symptoms include:
- severe abdominal pain
- severe chest pain
- shortness of breath
- coughing up blood
- very bad headaches
- loss of vision/other vision problems
- severe leg pains
If you experience any of these symptoms in the first month or during the course of your time on the pill, you should call your doctor’s office immediately. Pills are almost 100% effective in preventing pregnancies and remember they do not protect you from any sexually transmitted diseases.
How the Pill Works
Women everywhere rely on the pill as the best method of birth control. When taken correctly, birth control pills are 99.6% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy. Birth control pills contain the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, which work to suppress ovulation. When ovulation is suppressed the egg is not released from the ovaries so pregnancy cannot occur. The pill also works by thickening the cervical mucus, which makes it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus.
Using the Pill
It is recommended that you start the pill the first Sunday after the start of your period. The pill is to be taken every day preferably the first time each day. The best way to remember to take it is to associate taking the pill with another everyday activity (example, before or after a meal). The pill is most effective when it is taken consistently.