Millions of women across the world take hormonal contraceptives every day to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
According to a study by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Centre for Health Statistics, 88.2% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 have used contraception.
The combined oral contraceptive pill, usually just known as “the pill”, is the most popular form of birth control.
But it comes with a long list of real dangers, from death to depression.
Here are four shocking side effects of the pill:
Death is a real risk for every woman taking hormonal birth control pills.
The contraceptives are known to raise the risk of developing a potentially life-threatening blood clot – but even medics aren’t exactly sure why.
Some evidence shows that the estrogen and progestin in birth control heightens the concentration of blood clotting components, which in turn increases the risk of developing a clot.
A recent study, published in the British Medical Journal, revealed that 1million women have an increased risk of developing a dangerous blood clot because they are using new forms of the contraceptive pill, such as Yasmin, Femodene and Marvelon.
The NHS states: “If a blood clot develops, it could cause deep vein thrombosis (clot in your leg), pulmonary embolus (clot in your lung), stroke or heart attack.
“Use of hormonal contraception was associated with subsequent use of antidepressants ”
“The risk of getting a blood clot is very small, but your doctor will check if you have certain risk factors that make you more vulnerable before prescribing the pill.”
Further research has highlighted that women who take all forms of hormonal contraception have a slightly higher chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer versus those who don’t.
Findings also suggest the pill can have an effect on women developing cervical cancer and a rare form of liver cancer.
2. Lower sex drive
As many as 15% of ladies experience a lower libido as a side effect of regularly popping the pill, perhaps due to the fact that hormonal birth control lowers the amount of testosterone in a woman’s body.
Women can also suffer from problems self-lubricating which can have a knock-on effect on their desire for getting down and dirty.
Research has shown a worrying link between oral contraceptives and lower moods. One health expert revealed that between 20-30% of ladies on the pill suffer from depression.
Elisabeth Lloyd, of the Kinsey Institute, told CNN that these depressive symptoms are so severe that women need medication to deal with the condition.
What’s more, a recent Danish study found women on the combined pill were 23% more likely to be prescribed anti-depressants, compared with non-users.
Researchers said: “Use of hormonal contraception, especially among adolescents, was associated with subsequent use of antidepressants and a first diagnosis of depression, suggesting depression as a potential adverse effect of hormonal contraceptive use.”
The hormones present in the pill can interfere with your skin – for better or worse.
Each person reacts differently to various forms of contraception.
For some women, the birth control pill regulates their hormones and diminishes acne symptoms.
But for others the progestin present in the pill can cause spots and breakouts because it has a “pseudo-testosterone effect”.