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Health & Wellbeing / Ali Horsfall

What Are The Side Effects Of The Pill?

The pill is the most common form of contraception in the UK. Not only is it 99% effective, but it can lighten periods, reduce PMS and even help with adult acne – however there are plenty of myths out there that put women off taking it, including concerns about the side effects of the pill.

From weight worries to whether or not your body needs a break from this form of contraception, GP and wellness blogger, Dr Ajiri, answers some of the common questions.

Does the pill make you gain weight?

“This is one of the most commonly-held beliefs about the pill. The simple answer is that research has NOT shown that the pill causes weight gain. However, some women may find that their weight changes throughout their cycle and and this is due to fluid retention. Some women also report increased appetite whilst taking the pill and this may lead to weight gain.”

Is it bad to back-to-back the pill?

“The common advice has been that there is no problem with the occasional packet of pills back-to-back (without a seven day break) as for special occasions such as holidays. However, to take the pill continuously for periods of more than three months is not currently recommended and any such course of action would need to be discussed with your doctor or nurse responsible for prescribing your pill.”

Does your body need a break from the pill?

“No, you don’t need to take a break because the hormones do not build up. The Family Planning Association have stated that ‘there are no known benefits to your health or fertility from taking a break’.”

Does the pill make you less fertile?

“The short answer is no. There is no evidence to suggest that taking the pill affects your fertility. When you stop the pill, your fertility should return to baseline. My advice is to ensure that you see your GP or family planning nurse so that a detailed medical history and assessment is done to find the best pill for you. If one pill, doesn’t suit you, there are many others that you can try. The pill is just one of many contraception options out there, so if you’re not happy with how it makes you feel, there are other alternatives.

“Just remember, the pill does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections so you should take extra precautions such as using condoms! All information on the pill and other forms of contraception can be found here: www.fpa.org.uk.”


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