An unintended pregnancy is an unplanned pregnancy which creates distress for men and women who are not prepared for a child. This is the main reason why one uses hormonal birth control methods, as well as non-hormonal methods. There are many options for hormonal birth control available, including:

  • Pill
  • Patch
  • Shot
  • Implant
  • Vaginal ring
  • IUD (intra-uterine device)

Hormonal birth control is highly effective when used properly. However, it can cause a wide range of inconvenient or even dangerous side effects. Therefore, it is essential to do your research before selecting the method that is best for you.


Also referred to as breakthrough bleeding, spotting between periods can occur in the first few months of birth control use. Although alarming, spotting is rarely a cause for concern and is most likely due to a change in hormone levels. If spotting persists beyond one week, contact your doctor and schedule a visit.


Migraine Headaches

Studies have found that women may have more headaches while using birth control. Most often, women report these headaches before their periods begin. They can often ease the pain with massage and other relaxation methods. Applying ice directly to the pain may also help. Over-the-counter pain medications can ease the pain, as well. Eating better and working out more often usually helps lessen the intensity of headaches.


Weight Gain

A lot of women express concerns about gaining weight when using hormonal birth control. Clinical studies have found that the effect of birth control on weight is, in fact, minimal. If you believe your birth control is affecting your weight, speak with your doctor. You may be experiencing water retention, and a different brand or dose may be all you need.


Vision Problems

Women who use hormonal birth control are at a higher risk for degenerative eye diseases such as glaucoma. If you are using birth control and experience sudden dry eyes or change in vision, visit your doctor. Early menopause or women who have had their ovaries removed may also be at a higher risk.



Women have reported negative mood changes when using birth control. Those with a family history of mood disorders are most likely to feel depression from hormonal birth control. If your birth control method is bringing you down or is causing mood-related symptoms, speak with your doctor. Switching to a non-hormonal birth control method may be necessary.


Yeast Infection

Another common side effect of birth control reported by many women is yeast infections. Those with poorly-controlled diabetes or a weak immune system are most likely to have yeast infections. An over-the-counter antifungal cream may be the best treatment. Prescription drugs are also available to help keep the symptoms under control. If the problem becomes chronic, it is best to switch to another method of birth control.


Decreased Libido

Not interested in having sex anymore? Your hormonal birth control may be the cause of your low sex drive. Birth control causes a dip in estrogen in the body, resulting in decreased lubrication and painful intercourse. Uncomfortable intercourse is often the reason for low libido. However, in the case of pelvic pain, women should consult their doctor and rule out more serious issues.


Breast Tenderness

A temporary side effect of birth control pills is breast tenderness or enlargement. As the body adjusts to the fluctuation in hormones, this side effect usually goes away. As a preventive measure, one can reduce caffeine and salt intake. A good bra with optimum support can also provide relief. If your breasts remain tender or swollen after several cycles, it is best to consult a doctor.



As a response to hormones produced by birth control pills, some women tend to become nauseous. However, as the body adjusts to the change in hormone levels nausea tends to subside. Women can avoid nausea, by taking the pills with their dinner or at bedtime. Anyone experiencing persistent nausea should seek medical guidance.


Skipped Periods(Amenorrhea)

Missing periods on hormonal birth control may cause women to think they have become pregnant. Birth control may alter the frequency and heaviness your period, and often you may not get one at all. This is most common with certain pills, IUDs and the shot, however, it may happen with other forms as well.


Vaginal Discharge

Hormonal birth control often results in a heavy vaginal discharge. This happens because of stimulation of the cervix caused by certain hormones. You shouldn't be concerned about this discharge unless there is also itch or pain. Women may also notice dryness while having sex. Added lubrication during sex can aid any discomfort.


Discoloration Of Face

Women in the age group of 20-40 are most prone to discoloration of face, also called melasma. The condition makes the skin look brown or tan in spots due to hormonal changes in the body. This imbalance spurs extra production of melanin, which makes the skin go patchy and dark. While this may look a bit embarrassing, melasma doesn't necessarily suggest a serious medical condition.


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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.


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