When You Take Birth Control Every Day, This Is What Happens To Your Body

Birth control comes in many forms, including what is commonly referred to as "the pill." However, not all birth control pills are created equal.  

Combination birth control pills contain both estrogen and progestin — hormones that aid in regulating a woman's menstrual cycle (via Drugs.com). They can either be monophasic, meaning they have the same amount of each hormone, or multiphasic with a specific ratio of the two. And if a woman takes an extended cycle combined birth control pill, she may find that she only gets her period four times a year — or perhaps not at all! 


If the combination birth control pill doesn't work for you, the minipill — which only contains progestin — could be an option (via Mayo Clinic). Of course, whether you're trying to prevent pregnancy, treat menstrual cramps, or reduce acne, you should ask your doctor to help you find the best birth control pill for your needs. However, it's not a bad idea to do your research first. Here's a look at what happens to your body when you take birth control every day.  

You can reduce the chance of getting pregnant by 99.9 percent if you take a birth control pill daily

While birth control has a bunch of prescribed purposes, its main job — as indicated by its name — is to prevent pregnancy. 

According to WebMD, birth control pills are 99.9 percent effective when used properly. The margin of error — or potential for pregnancy — increases if you miss or delay a dose.


But how does the pill actually work? First, it's important to realize there are several types of pills. While they are all a form of hormonal birth control, they each work differently. Generally speaking, hormonal contraceptives — like the pill — contain synthetic estrogen and progestin. These two hormones help to stop or alter a woman's cycle. Most hormonal contraceptives work to put a halt to ovulation; they may also change the cervical mucus to create an environment that makes it more challenging for a sperm to penetrate the cervix. Additionally, some pills make the lining of the uterus uninhabitable for a fertilized egg (via WebMD). 

Of course, even if you follow directions to a T, there's always a slight risk these methods will fail.


Taking birth control every day could combat your acne

Taking birth control every day could be a miracle solution for those pesky pimples!

If you're prone to breakouts, your acne could be telling you something about your health. As explained by Healthline, zits, blackheads, and unsightly red blemishes are often created by a surge in androgens, which are hormones that promote the production of sebum — an oily substance found in your body's natural oils. 


If over-the counter-scrubs and ointments aren't working and prescription topical treatments are falling short of eradicating your complexion woes, your doctor may prescribe birth control pills. According to Healthline, the estrogen and progestin found in combination birth control pills help reduce sebum from building up in your glands, resulting in less acne flare-ups. However, the mini pill (another birth control option), only contains progestin — which is useless in fighting acne without its partner in zit zapping crime, estrogen.  "Progesterone-only birth control methods can cause acne to flare by increasing oil production," Dr. Mara Weinstein told Teen Vogue

You may gain weight from taking birth control daily

If you take birth control every day, you may start to notice your clothes feeling tighter than usual. 

According to WebMDestrogen can cause you to gain weight or feel bloated all the time, as the hormone has been linked to both an increased appetite and fluid retention. So, while it's possible you've been eating more carbs than usual since starting birth control, it's also likely that your body is simply retaining water and will gradually return to normal. As noted by Healthline, when birth control made its big debut in the '50s, it was high in synthetic hormone content. However, birth control pills now have significantly less estrogen, making them less of a weighty concern for body-conscious women.


As Dr. Petra Casey told Health.com, the majority of weight gain caused by birth control pills is usually nothing more than a temporary side effect. In fact, the doctor revealed that most birth control medications don't add extra pounds, despite their bad reputation. "Over 40 studies have basically disproved the theory or myth that birth control is related to significant weight gain," Dr. Casey explained.

Your period will probably get lighter when you start taking birth control

Birth control could be a godsend for women who have a heavy monthly flow. The average woman loses approximately two to three tablespoons of blood per menstrual period, according to Medical News Today. But if you suffer from a heavy period month after month, that blood loss quickly adds up and can be become extremely disruptive to your lifestyle, as well as impede your ability to do normal activities. 


Fortunately, there is help for those women who are desperate to slow the flow: birth control. Birth control pills interfere with your hormone levels, and slow the stimulation that would normally create a "thick linking" in the uterus. As Dr. Lesley Miller told NPR, "When a woman is on the birth-control pill, every day becomes the same hormonally." She continued, saying, "She takes the pill, the hormones are absorbed, and 12 hours later, hormone levels fall." 

According to Dr. Miller, this daily lowering of hormone production means there's less uterine lining to shed per menstrual cycle — which consequently means you'll experience a lighter period. Just don't forget to pay attention to what your period reveals about your health.


Your menstrual cramps might subside when you take a daily birth control pill

Birth control could be a lifesaver for women who suffer from debilitating menstrual cramps.

If you lay in bed with agonizing cramps each month, you are not alone. According to VeryWellHealth, approximately 90 percent of young women report experiencing dysmenorrhea, the clinical term for cramps that happen just before or during menstruation.  These debilitating aches and pains are caused by the overproduction of the chemical compound prostaglandins, which causes contractions in the muscles of the uterus in an attempt to help encourage the regular shedding of the uterine lining that happens during menstruation. If you shed a lot, you are likely to feel some degree of cramping. 


You might want to talk to your doctor about managing your predictable period pain with birth control. As noted by VeryWell Health, combination pills (ones that contain both estrogen and progestin), help to stop your body from making too much prostaglandin — thus helping to alleviate these severe period pains. Extended-cycle birth control pills can help, too, as they can even temporarily stop your period from coming. 

Taking a daily birth control pill could cause changes in your vision

If taking birth control every day has seemingly impacted your vision, don't be alarmed. Eyes reveal a lot about your health, and according to experts, vision changes can often be caused by simple hormonal changes. 


As Dr. Mina Massaro-Giordano explained to Shape"Women sometimes experience blurry vision during pregnancy or when changing their birth control." She continued, revealing, "Estrogen can have a pro or anti-inflammatory effect on the eye depending on your genetics." According to the doctor, a pro-inflammatory effect is characterized by an oil-producing gland being rendered temporarily ineffective by inflammation, which subsequently leads to dryness. This dry-eye drawback ultimately can lead to poor vision. 

Dr. Massaro-Giordano told Shape that the structure of the cornea can be altered by estrogen, and may change "the way light refracts or bends, which can cause blurry vision." Added the doctor, "Cornea shape can fluctuate depending on how hydrated it is." In other words, steer clear of dry-eye if you don't want blurry vision!


Taking a daily birth control pill could cause depression

If you take birth control every day and feel sad, you may be suffering from the birth-control blues. 

A Danish study, cited by Harvard Health Publishing, found that taking hormonal contraception upticks one's risk for depression. Those who used progesterone-only types of birth control such as the mini pill or an IUD were at an even higher risk. Nevertheless, the numbers are quite small, so the benefits usually outweigh the risk. About 2.2 in 100 women who took hormonal birth control reported the onset of depression, as opposed to 1.7 out of 100 women who did not take birth control, per Harvard Health Publishing


As noted by WebMD, the studies are rather limited. While data analysis has shown a potential link between birth control and depression, many other reports have been unable to prove a connection. Moreover, additional research, cited by the medical web site, found that women who were given a placebo reported similar depression levels to those taking actual birth control pills, underlining the idea that depression can be caused by a combination of factors and birth control isn't necessarily to blame.

Taking birth control could make your breasts grow

If you take birth control every day, you may have noticed your breasts feeling fuller and looking more voluptuous. Of course, not every woman wants bigger breasts. However, if you're a woman who has always wished there was a magic pill to promote breast growth — well, birth control may be just that.  


In its synthetic form, estrogen is one of the active ingredients in most types of combination birth control pills. And in its naturally occurring form, estrogen is the hormone that makes a female's breasts develop and grow throughout puberty, as noted by Medical News Today.

According to Dr. Christine Masterson, starting hormonal birth control may cause changes in your boobs, thanks to an increase in estrogen and progesterone levels (via Women's Health). However, according to the doctor — while you may have to go up as much as a full cup size — these changes are only temporary. The longer you're on the pill, the more the side effects of the hormones will begin to disappear. So, you may not want to splurge on expensive new undergarments just yet.


Taking a birth control pill could increase your risk of getting breast cancer

If you take birth control every day, you may find yourself wondering if it could lead to breast cancer later in life.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that women who took some form of hormonal birth control, including certain pills, saw a small increase in risk of breast cancer — as opposed to women who never used any form of hormonal contraceptive. Additionally, those who consistently used hormonal contraceptives for a decade or more saw another tiny uptick in risk level versus women who used it for less than a year. While this might raise red flags for those considering birth control, it should be noted that this risk increase could be equated to one documented breast cancer patient for every 7,690 women who took the pill or used another form of hormonal contraceptive per year.


This study doesn't take key behaviors and lifestyle patterns such as exercise, diet, alcohol consumption and breastfeeding into account. Still, despite the fact that the risk can be considered small, it's important to weigh the pros and cons for yourself.

Taking a daily birth control pill could help control the onset of migraines

Birth control pills aren't marketed as pain relievers. However, according to experts, taking birth control pills every day could help keep painful migraines at bay.

If you have ever experienced the piercing pain of a migraine, you are in good company — as 40 percent of all women suffer from the debilitating headaches (via Healthline). If you experience them regularly or around your time of the month, birth control might help. "Oral contraceptives can be especially helpful in treating menstrual migraine," Dr. Huma Sheikh told the American Headache Society. She continued, warning, "However, this comes with the caveat of certain risks." 


According to the doctor, women who get migraines with auras may be at an increased risk for stroke if they take birth control pills, as the pills themselves often come with an increased risk for ischemic stroke. However, mini pills — which only contain progesterone — have not been linked to an increased risk for stroke. "As far as we know, in all of the studies in women who were using progesterone-only hormonal contraceptives, there was no increased risk," Dr. Sheikh revealed. 

Taking a daily birth control pill could lead to a drop in your sex drive

Taking birth control pills may significantly decrease the risk of an unplanned pregnancy, but it could also make you less inclined to want to have sex in the first place. 

A study published in The European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care found that 27 percent of women who used hormonal contraceptives — including birth control pills — experienced decreased sexual desire. According to WebMD, this could be because the majority of combination birth control pills lower testosterone — the hormone that makes people want to have sex. While many women naturally produce enough testosterone to still experience sexual desire, women who have naturally low testosterone levels will likely see a decreased interest in sex while taking birth control pills. However, that doesn't mean birth control is always bad for the bedroom.


"Overall, birth control is not associated with a significant change in sex drive," Dr. Jessica Atrio told Insider. She continued, saying, "However, behavioral and social research has demonstrated trends in changes in sexual behavior when people co-habitat, have children and maintain long-term relationships that may also be attributed to contraception."

A daily birth control pill can help with mood swings and anxiety

Taking birth control every day could actually help even out your mood

Changes in your hormone level can majorly affect you feel day-to-day, as Dr. Anate Brauer, a reproductive endocrinologist, told Byrdie. She elaborated that monophasic (or single-phase_ birth control pills might help with this problem, as they "provide a stable exposure to hormones throughout a cycle" and can likely help even out your mood. "Women who have severe PMS and PMDD may do better on extended-cycle or continuous pills by avoiding hormonal fluctuations, however, this has not been evaluated in randomized clinical trials," Dr. Brauer told the site.


Another option to address moods swings is "low-hormonal birth control," Dr. Gunvor Ekman Ordeberg revealed to Byrdie. "A hormonal IUD giving off the lowest levels of hormone or birth control mini pills (also giving a low hormone dosage) are great options [to help treat mood swings]," the doctor explained. However, birth control pills shouldn't be used as a substitute for antidepressants. "In extreme cases, anti-depressive drugs can be recommended by your doctor if results are not gained [through birth control]," Dr. Ordeberg told Byrdie.

Taking birth control could affect your ability to sleep

If you take birth control every day, you might be more tired than your friend who opts for a different birth control method. 

According to a study published in the European Journal of Physiology, women who took oral contraceptives in both the active and placebo phase experienced a slightly elevated body temperature (via HelloFlo.com). Despite it being only a degree-or-so difference, Dr. Ari Shechter, professor at Columbia University, told The Cut that your sleep onset latency (or the amount of time it takes for you to nod off) could be negatively impacted by the increased body temperature caused by birth control. "If you're feeling hot, you might feel a little more restless," the doctor explained.


Dr. Fiona Baker explained to The Cut that, on the three-week active pill, a woman's body temperature is reactively similar to its natural premenstrual phase. So, the body's basal temperature will stay slightly elevated throughout a woman's entire cycle, meaning the potential loss of sleep could be perpetual.

Will taking a daily birth control pill now negatively impact your ability to get pregnant later?

Will taking birth control now inhibit your ability to have a healthy baby later?

Dr. Audrey Lance, a professor of obstetrics at UPMC Magee-Women's Hospital, told Parents that women need not worry. "Once you stop taking the pill, these hormones are out of your body within 24 hours, and with your next cycle you can go back to ovulating and may become pregnant," Dr. Lance revealed.


However, Dr. Glenmarie Matthews, a NYC OB-GYN, reiterated to the site that many women will not get pregnant immediately after going off birth control — not as a lasting side effect of the pill, but because getting pregnant isn't necessarily easy. "The normal fertility rate for a woman who isn't on birth control is approximately 30 percent per menstrual cycle," the doctor said. Simply put, birth control is not without its risks, so it's important to talk with your doctor about the best option for you, your body, and your plans for the future.