Is Birth Control Safe? A Guide to Making Informed Choices 

Amisha Jain
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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is birth control safe

The type of birth control method is a critical consideration for many individuals when choosing one.

With options ranging from hormonal to non-hormonal alternatives, safety and effectiveness become paramount concerns.

Hence, the question naturally arises: “Is birth control safe?” 

Read on as we discuss the safety profiles of the two mentioned types of birth control options and who should not use them.

Safety of birth control

Yes, birth control is generally safe for most women when used as directed. 

The safety of birth control methods varies, with options like oral contraceptives, patches, and Intrauterine Devices (IUDs). 

While most women experience minimal side effects, some may encounter issues like nausea, headaches, or changes in mood. 

Serious complications are rare but can include blood clots or increased blood pressure. 

Moving forward, we will understand the safety profile of both hormonal and non-hormonal methods of birth control in detail.

Hormonal birth control

InjectionsSource: Dejan_Dundjerski_from_Getty_Images
Nurse preparing injection

Hormonal birth control methods include birth control pills, patches, injections, implants, and hormonal Intrauterine Devices (IUDs). 

They contain synthetic hormones, usually a combination of Estrogen and Progestin or Progestin alone.

Generally, hormonal birth control methods are considered safe for most women. 

They are highly successful in preventing pregnancy when used correctly. 

Fact:
Research suggests that hormonal birth control may have positive effects beyond contraception, including reduced menstrual cramps, lighter periods, and improved acne for some users.

However, like any medication, hormonal birth control may have potential side effects. 

Common side effects include breast tenderness, headaches, weight changes, nausea, and changes in mood.

Serious complications are rare but can include blood clots, liver disorders, strokes, or heart attacks, particularly in women with certain risk factors.

Ongoing research focuses on refining hormonal contraceptives to minimize side effects and enhance safety. 

New formulations with lower hormone doses may further reduce certain risks associated with hormonal contraception. 

Non-hormonal birth control

Non-hormonal methods include barrier methods like condoms, diaphragms, and cervical caps, as well as intrauterine devices (IUDs) that do not contain hormones.

These methods are also generally safe and have fewer systemic side effects compared to hormonal methods. 

However, some individuals may be sensitive or allergic to certain materials used in barrier methods.

Additionally, some may find that non-hormonal IUDs cause increased menstrual bleeding or cramps.

Recommended Article
Read and learn more about non-hormonal methods of birth control here.
Exploring Non-Hormonal Birth Control Options: A Comprehensive Guide has everything you need to know.

Who is it not safe for

headache is a side effectSource: Iurii_Maksymiv
Migraine headaches with aura

While birth control is safe for many women, there are certain groups for whom certain methods may not be recommended.

Women who have a history of blood clots, certain types of cancer, or cardiovascular issues may be advised against certain hormonal contraceptives.

Additionally, women who are pregnant are not advised to use hormonal birth control options since they increase the risk of birth defects and other issues.

Combination pills are not advised to be used if you have any of the following:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Liver disorders
  • Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure
  • History of breast cancer
  • Migraine headaches with aura
Warning:
Smoking while on birth control that has Estrogen in it might increase the risk of getting a stroke or heart attack.

When it comes to non-hormonal methods, individuals with allergies to latex or certain other chemicals used in birth control options should not use them without supervision.

Also, women with certain uterine conditions may not be suitable candidates for certain types of intrauterine devices.

Conclusion

The safety of birth control is a complex subject, with hormonal and non-hormonal methods each presenting their own set of considerations. 

Hormonal contraceptives, despite being highly effective, carry potential side effects that warrant attention, especially for individuals with specific risk factors. 

Non-hormonal options provide alternatives with generally fewer systemic effects, but individual sensitivities must still be considered. 

As research continues to refine and innovate contraceptive methods, staying informed about the latest findings is crucial for making well-informed choices.

Ultimately, birth control is safe for many, but personalized guidance ensures the most suitable and secure choices for each individual.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are birth control 100% safe?

While birth control methods are generally safe, no method is 100% effective or without potential side effects. It’s essential to choose the most suitable method based on individual health considerations and stay informed about potential risks and benefits.

Who should not take birth control pills?

Women with a history of blood clots, certain cancers, cardiovascular issues, pregnancy, breastfeeding, or specific liver conditions may be advised against birth control pills. Consultation with a healthcare specialist is crucial for personalized guidance.

Is it bad to always be on birth control?

Prolonged use of birth control is generally safe, but individual responses vary. Consultation with a medical professional is advisable to assess the most suitable method based on health, condition, and lifestyle.

Is I-pill harmful for future pregnancy?

Emergency contraception like the I pill is generally safe but is not intended for regular use. It doesn’t impact future pregnancies, but consistent contraceptive methods are advisable for long-term family planning.

Is it better to be on birth control or not?

The choice between being on birth control or not depends on individual preferences, health considerations, and family planning goals. It’s a personal decision. However, an individual must consult a specialist for appropriate guidance and proper knowledge of the associated risks and benefits of birth control.

Citations:
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