The pros and cons of the birth control pill have been debated for centuries, yet it’s still completely common for women to wonder whether it is bad for them.
The pill has, indeed, been blamed for a lot over the years, including making us gain weight, but it’s important to weigh up the risks and decipher fact from fiction before you decide whether it is or isn't for you.
Is the contraceptive pill safe?
In short, yes, taking birth control pills is considered safe and effective. The medication is excellent at doing its job and it is actually 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
However, it can increase your risk of certain health concerns, which although rare, can be serious and are important to consider.
What are the health risks of taking the pill?
The contraceptive pill may increase your risk of:
- Cardiovascular issues: Combination pills increase the risk of cardiovascular side effects like heart attack, stroke, and blood clots 
- Breast cancer: According to the renowned British charity Cancer Research, the combined contraceptive pill can slightly increase your risk of breast cancer
- Cervical cancer: The combined pill may also slightly increase the risk of cervical cancer, though evidence of this link isn't as strong as evidence of the connection between the pill and breast cancer risk 
The progestogen-only pill, known as the mini pill, has also been found to increase the risk of breast and cervical cancer, though more research on this is needed .
Naturally, when you alter the hormones in your body, you alter the risks of certain diseases, so it’s crucial to assess your current risk by having a consultation with a doctor before going on hormonal contraception.
What are the side effects of the pill?
Aside from the increased risk of disease, the pill is sometimes considered “bad” for you because of its possible side effects. These will vary from woman to woman, but they'll often subside with time and in most cases, people won’t experience any negative side effects that are out of the ordinary.
That said, some of the most common side effects of the birth control pill include:
- Breast tenderness
- Intermenstrual spotting
- Weight gain
- Mood changes
- Decreased libido
- Skin issues
Who should avoid taking the pill?
It is clear by now that the pill is not right for everyone. There could be multiple reasons why you should avoid taking oral contraceptives, and your doctor will discuss these with you as they vary from person to person.
But some of the main reasons the pill might not be right for you are:
- You have high blood pressure
- You have a history of blood clots
- You've had serious heart problems
- You’re a smoker over the age of 35
- You get headaches with an aura
- You have a history, or family history, of breast cancer
What is "aura?"
An aura is a warning sign of a migraine that can last about 20 minutes (though it can also happen after a migraine).
Most of the time, auras consist of visual symptoms, like flashing lights, zigzagging lines, or blind spots in your vision. They can also make it difficult to speak clearly and cause numbness on one side of the body.
So, is the pill bad for you?
Generally speaking, and for the vast majority of people, the pill is very safe and very effective.
For a small minority of women, however, alternative contraception may be considered safer. If that's your case, you have nothing to worry about.
There's a wide variety of options — 13, to be exact — ranging from the good old condom to the vaginal ring, IUD, and more. Although it will probably take some time to make a decision, you will find the right birth control method for you.
If you have any concerns or questions about hormonal contraceptives and potential side effects, it’s always best to speak to a doctor for advice.
With Kin's pill subscription, an Australian health practitioner will help you find the pill that works best and is safest for you. They'll discuss all potential side effects and address any concerns you may have before creating a personalised prescription plan based on your individual circumstances.
From there, you get your contraception delivered straight to your door 2 weeks before you run out (or earlier if you prefer), plus unlimited text-based consults and the ability to switch your pill at any time.