The fact is that the intake of birth control pills has increased especially among teenagers. Most parents lack the courage to accept that their teenage girl child can be sexually active and are actually using contraceptives. Studies by the Love Life suggest that in South Africa, approximately29% of the teens are and most of them became sexually active before the age of 15. These pills are good for preventing pregnancy. On the other hand, there are numerous side effects of birth control pills for teenagers as well as adults.
What Are Birth Control Pills?
A birth control pill is a type of contraceptives that are taken on a daily basis to prevent unwanted pregnancy. The pills contain hormones that control how our bodies function by hindering production of the egg thereby preventing pregnancy. In simple terms, they prevent ovulation.
How Effective Is Birth Control Pills?
The biggest benefit that comes with birth control pills for teenagers is that it prevents the occurrence of unwanted pregnancy. Usually, most teenage girls are young and not mature enough to handle the various responsibilities that come along with parenthood. Studies suggest that the birth control pills are approximately 99% successful.
Side Effects of Birth Control Pills To Teenagers and Adults
1. Intermenstrual Spotting
Vaginal spotting can be expected especially between periods. Mainly within the first three months after you start taking the pill. As long as you take the pill are required, it will still be effective. This bleeding may occur since your uterus is adjusting to the introduced levels of hormones or because it is accumulating a thinner endometrial lining. However, if you experience bleeding for more than 5 days while on active pills, immediately talk to your doctor to avoid more severe complications.
Mild nausea can be experienced especially in the first days of taking the pill. The symptoms, however, subside after some time. Taking the pills at bedtime or with food is a great way to reduce these effects. In case the condition persists for a longer duration for 3 months or more, seek immediate guidance.
3. Breast Tenderness
Breast tenderness and enlargement are another common effect of birth control pills. Severe and persistent pain should be seen by a doctor. Also, you can use a supportive salt and caffeine to relieve the effects.
4. Headaches and Migraine
High doses of pills can trigger or increase the chances some symptoms such as migraines and headaches. These types of symptoms usually improve with time. Seek the help of a doctor in case of severe headaches.
5. Excessive Weight
Birth control pills cause fluid retention, especially around the hips and breasts. A review from several studies about birth control pills showed that individuals gain approximately 2kg after 6-12 months of taking the progestin birth control pills. Also, other types of hormonal contraceptives are linked to a decrease in the lean body mass.
6. Mood Swings
According to studies, birth control pills can affect the mood of the user. Also, they can increase the likelihood of suffering from depression and other emotional changes. A medical provider can help control the mood.
7. Late Periods
Alongside other factors such as stress, travel, hormonal abnormalities, and illness, birth control pills can cause light bleeding during menstruation. Some people use birth control pills to regulate periods. You should seek medical advice if you are concerned about the condition.
8. Vaginal Discharge
Taking the birth control pills can cause changes in the vaginal discharge. The increase or reduction in the virginal discharge is not harmful but the alternations in odour and color could be as a result of an infection.
10. Variations in Eye
Birth control pills contain hormones that are believed to thicken the cornea in the eyes of the user. This can change the vision of the eye lens such as vision loss, blurred vision, and blood spots in the eyes. Consult with an ophthalmologist if you are concerned.
Other Common Side Effects of Birth Control Pills on Teenagers Include
- Decreased Sex Drive and Sex Satisfaction
- High Blood Pressure
- Cramps, Pain in the Calf and Swelling in the Legs
- Liver cancer, Cervical Cancer, and Abdominal Pain
- Itching and Rashes on the Body
- Increase the risks of suffering from stroke especially if one already has health complications such as high blood pressure, hypertension, and diabetes.
- Lung complications such as coughing blood, shortened breath, and chest pain.
- Bacterial and Vaginal Infections
- Incurable Acne Yeast
- Weakened Immune System
- Skin Irritation and Pigmentation
Birth Control Pills Should Not Be Taken By
- Women Pregnant
- Smokers over 35 years old
- Obese People
- Individuals taking certain medications
- Individuals who suffer from stroke, thrombosis, or a heart disease
- People who suffer from blood clots or a family lineage with blood clot cases at younger ages
- Individuals who suffer from severe migraines
- Individuals with health conditions such as liver, breast cancer, diabetes, or gallbladder should consult with the doctor before choosing whether to take the pills
Seek Medical Attention If you Experience The Following
- Breath shortness and chest pain
- Stomach and abdominal pain
- Severe headaches
- Redness and swelling in the thighs and calf
- Blurred and vision loss
Always seek medical attention since these conditions can cause severe complications if ignored.
Also, consult with your doctor always before deciding to take birth control pills. There are numerous side effects of birth control pills for teenagers and adults and should be avoided at all costs. Even though the decision to take birth control pills is quite personal. In cases of teenagers, the issue should be discussed carefully among teenagers, doctors, and parents.
Some teenagers may not be developed enough to handle medical regimen. Though the average age to start birth control is not specified, studies claim that 16 years is the most common age to start taking birth control pills.
Medically Reviewed By
Catherine is a dedicated freelance health and science writer committed to excellence and professionalism. She specializes in health topics including diet and nutrition, immune-related diseases, surgery, and cancer.