Many women don’t have any problems with hormonal birth controlwhether it’s a pill, a ring, or a shotbut some do experience side effects. "Most are what I call ‘nuisance’ side effects," says Anne Foster-Rosales, MD, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood Golden Gate and a professor at the University of California, San Francisco.
Those include headache, nausea, breast tenderness, or spotting between periods. Even though the side effects are mild, "some women are so annoyed by it that they’ll discontinue using that method," says Dr. Foster-Rosales. (She adds, however, that women who get migraines with an aurameaning that they see spots or lightsshould not use combined progestin-estrogen hormonal methods.)
I Ditched Acne by Switching Birth Control
A marathon runner gets serious about side effects from the Pill Read more
More about hormonal birth control
Other side effects are more than annoying. Depression or mood swings are widely reported, and some say the Pill lowers their sex drive. "For some women, the Pill does affect libido," says Hilda Hutcherson, MD, an ob-gyn professor at Columbia University.
A 2006 Boston University study found the change in libido lasted for months after women stopped the Pill. Other women, however, report increased libido while on hormonal birth control.