What are the health risks associated with birth control pills?
I'm 19 years old and sexually active and I would like to start using birth control. What health risks are there if I take it? Is it really bad for your body and does it cause permanent damage?
There are many different types of birth control pills but they all use some combination of estrogen and progesterone. They work by inhibiting the release of hormones that cause ovulation. They do this by tricking the body into thinking that it already ovulated. Birth control pills have been used for many many years and the ones used today are the safest they have ever been. The pills today use the lowest dose of hormones possible and therefore have the fewest side effects. For most women, the advantage of having a very reliable birth control method outweighs these downsides. The downsides of birth control pills are that they do slightly increase your risk of developing a blood clot. This is only really significant in women that have a history of blood clots, or those that smoke and are over the age of 35. There is also a slight increase risk of breast cancer, but a slight decrease risk in ovarian cancer seen with birth control pill use. Besides these small risks, there is no permanent damage that these pills induce, nor is they considered bad for your body. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or OBGYN (whoever you go to for your feminine health). He or she can discuss the pros and cons of each method so that you can develop your own plan for birth control.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.
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