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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » Long-term side effects of the pill?

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Author Topic: Long-term side effects of the pill?
Animica
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I've been considering going on birth control for a while now. However, what kind of puts me off is the possibility of some long-term side effect/problems. See, not so long ago, my boyfriend's sister-in-law had surgery due to gallbladder problems. She said that it might have been the birth control (she'd been taking it for a while), and I actually looked it up. Supposedly, the amounts of estrogen in the pill can cause problems with the gallbladder. How possible/likely is this? What other side effects/problems (aside from weight gain, moodiness, migranes, etc) can I expect from the pill. I read most of the topic about experiences with the pill here on Scarleteen, but I didn't hear anyone mention anything about the gallbladder or something similar. I want to go on BC to regulate my cycles, and to worry less about possible pregnancies, in case I decide to have intercourse or other high-risk acts in the future.
Posts: 132 | From: La La Land | Registered: Nov 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
pantas25
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Gallbladder problems are a listed side effect of birth control (I don't know how prevalent, they are, and I believe it is most common with Yaz). I know many women on birth control, but the only person I know who ever had gallbladder problems wasn't even on the pill, so take what you will from that. I've never read any official studies on the incidence of gallbladder problems though. I am on the pill and aware of the possibility of these problems though, and it's something I'm willing to handle. My aunt had her gallbladder removed a few years ago, and it's actually minor surgery and it's something I wouldn't particularly mind, especially considering all the benefits from the pill (I've been on it for two or three years now- originally for ovarian cysts, now for actual birth control, and it's really been one of the best things I've ever done)
For me, personally, weight gain, moodiness, and migraines were never a problem. I went up a cup size as far as my boobs are involved, but I'm not complaining there [Wink] . Of course, everyone is different and some girls are just more sensitive to hormones than others are, but for the vast majority of women I've encountered who are on the pill, those particular side effects aren't a problem.
One controversial aspect of hormonal birth control methods is that there *may* be a slight increase in the frequency of breast cancer. Keep in mind that there are no conclusive studies on this, and it may just be that there appears to be a higher frequency because of more screening. Plus, your chances of cervical, uterine, endometrial, and ovarian cancers have been shown to be dramatically reduced because of the pill. When you're on the pill, these organs are being used much less, which would explain why the frequency of cancer is less- and I believe the general consensus is that there is a net benefit.

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-taylor

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Animica
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Very informative, thank you. [Big Grin]

Well, I am willing to handle the weight gain and all the other common side effects. I mentioned the gallbladder problem because my boyfriend's sister-in-law developed it suddenly and it got bad quickly. They couldn't operate her the easy way, since the gallbladder was very swollen (or some such thing), so they had to make a medium/large incision and she was in the hospital for a while. She'd had no symptoms prior.

But it's like you said, everyone's experiences are different, and there are lots of benefits, so I'll still consider it. If I may ask, which pill are you using?

Thanks again. [Smile]

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pantas25
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I started out on generic Ortho Tri-Cyclen (TriNessa), then switched to Yaz because I had heard a lot of good stuff about it as far as acne (a huge problem for me at the time- another bonus!) plus it only had four days of placebos instead of seven- since I'm also anemic, shorter periods are definitely better. I was really terrible about taking it on a schedule though, I would take two pills a day every other day basically. Since I wasn't sexually active at the time, it wasn't too bad except for some spotting. But it did seem like a "chore" to have to take a pill every day, so I switched to NuvaRing for three months this year and hated it (it was painful, fell out a lot, I took it out every time I had intercourse so it was out way too much to really be effective). But recently I switched to Lybrel, a continuous pill that doesn't have any placebos, thus no period (YES!). It's pretty new and from what I understand not that popular in the US yet (or at least no where near as popular as Yaz). We'll see how it goes! Glad I could help!

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-taylor

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Animica
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Oh, I've heard about Lybrel. At first I thought it might be a good option, but then I figured it'd be better to start taking a pill without having a continuous dose of hormones (as tempting as it sounds to have a period only once a year), since I've never taken any form of birth control, and I think my body should get used to hormones first.

Sponges, caps, rings, or anything that goes inside the vagina is out for me. Just thinking about the insertion/removal process, and about them maybe falling out makes me not want to even consider them. :x

I think I might end up choosing the mini-pill or a low-dose combination pill to start. Maybe Cerazette or Ortho Try-Cylen Lo.

Thanks, and hope all goes well with the Lybrel! [Smile]

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atm1
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FYI, just about all combination pills these days are low dose. Doctors generally will only put you on a higher dose if there's some reason (eg endometriosis, problems with spotting).

And Taylor, even with a continuous use pill, you really do need to take one per day--otherwise the pill is really not effective.

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pantas25
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Well obviously! I got better about taking it every day at the same time (noon) when I went back on it after becoming sexually active. When I was on Yaz, it wouldn't have made for effective birth control but I also wasn't having sex. Long story, but the gist of it is located here: http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/21/t/001866.html
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