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Side effects of prolonged use of birth control pills

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
Answered : 1579 Questions
Hi, I have been married for 1 year and want to use birth control pills.I currently use condoms as a preventive measure. I dont have any children.
I have a few queries- it true that prolonged use of pills can make it tougher to get pregnant a a later stage? What is a safe duration?
2. Are pills more or less effective than condoms?
3.What could be the side effects of pills- weight gain, acne on skin, hair loss etc?
4. Could you suggest what pills to use and the manner of usage?
5.My general physician suggested that I take pills for 6 months, then take a break for 2-3 months and then again take pills for a few months and so on. This will ensure that my body does not get used to them. Please advice if this makes sense to you.
Posted Tue, 22 May 2012 in Birth Control
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 2 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.

I can understand your concern for the oral contraceptives. Let me answer your queries one by one.

1)     A review of the literature indicates that there is a slight delay in the return of fertility in Pill users but no permanent impairment results. A small proportion of women experience a prolonged period of amenorrhoea following cessation of combined oral contraception, but whether the Pill plays an aetiological role is doubtful.

There is no long term effect on fertility after long term use of oral contraceptives. Regarding the duration of use, non-smoking women who are not overweight and do not suffer from high blood pressure can use the combined pill until the age of 45 as long as you're generally healthy and don't smoke.

2)     Pills are less effective than condoms and missing of pills and having unprotected intercourse may cause unwanted pregnancy. Moreover condoms prevent from sexually transmitted diseases also which pills do not.

3)     Side effects of pills include headaches, nausea, breast tenderness, weight gain, spotting between periods, DVT, risk of heart attacks and stroke.

4)     You can use any combined oral contraceptive pills. You are to start them on the first day of menstrual cycle or first Sunday after menstrual cycles and you’re given a pack that usually contains 21 pills, and you take one every day for three weeks. At the end of those three weeks, you break for a week. During those seven days, you'll have your period.

If you wish, you can take seven 'dummy' tablets during the week's break.

5)     You can follow this regimen also which your physician has suggested but make sure to use condoms during the pill free interval.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.

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