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Birth Control Side Effects — Ask the Experts

By Peter Wood 1 min read

Q: What are the side effects linked with birth control?

Information about the different side effects of birth control can be overwhelming.

Hormone-influencing contraceptives, such as the combined oral contraceptive pill, vaginal rings, hormone impregnated intrauterine devices (IUDs), and implantable birth control and injections can have some advantages, including treating irregular menstruation, painful periods, acne, endometriosis and premenstrual syndrome. Disadvantages can be inter-menstrual spotting, mood changes, weight gain, headaches or migraines, nausea, missed periods, breast tenderness and possible decreased libido.

Other non-hormonal options include condoms, copper IUDs and diaphragms. Side effects from these are less common than hormonal contraception and use of these is up to the individual.

Non-reversible options include vasectomy and tubal ligation, both of which require surgery and possible associated complications.

The place to start is a discussion with your doctor about what might suit you best.


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Any advice given is general in nature and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice and must not be relied upon as such. For any healthcare advice, always consult a healthcare practitioner.

Peter Wood is an obstetrician-gynaecologist with Sydney Adventist Hospital.


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