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Are there side effects of taking birth control pills?

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Yes, there are side effects of birth control pills, although the majority are not serious. Side effects include:

The following side effects, easily remembered by the word "ACHES," are less common -- but more serious. If you experience any of these, contact your doctor immediately. If you cannot reach your doctor, go to an emergency room or urgent care center for evaluation. These symptoms may indicate a serious disorder, such as liver disease, gallbladder disease, stroke, blood clots, high blood pressure, or heart disease. They include:

  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Sore or swollen breasts
  • Small amounts of blood, or spotting, between periods
  • Lighter periods
  • Mood changes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Eye problems (specifically, blurred vision)
  • Swelling or aching in the legs and thighs

From: Birth Control Pills WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: The National Women's Health Information Center.

ContraceptionNet.

Seasonale.

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by Nivin Todd on August 5, 2018

SOURCES: The National Women's Health Information Center.

ContraceptionNet.

Seasonale.

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by Nivin Todd on August 5, 2018

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What should you consider about the side effects of birth control pills?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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