Is it safe to take long-term birth control pills?

Birth control pills are quite convenient and effective groups of drugs chosen by many women. However, you may be wondering whether taking birth control pills for a long time is good for your body or not. This article will help you find out if there's a limit to how long you can take the Pill and what to watch out for.

1. Birth control pills

Birth control pills that contain only a small dose of sex hormones are used to prevent pregnancy. There are two basic types of birth control pills.
A pill containing only the hormone progestin . It is sometimes called a "minipill". It works by thickening cervical mucus and thinning the thickness of your uterine lining. The slime layer should be thicker, making it harder for sperm to reach and fertilize an egg. The thinner endometrium makes it harder for a fertilized embryo to implant and develop during pregnancy.
A more common birth control pill that contains both progestin and estrogen. This is called a combination pill. Estrogen helps prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg into the fallopian tube, where a sperm can fertilize it or release it along with the lining of the uterus during the next menstrual period.

2. Safety issues when using long-term pills

If you've been taking birth control pills for a while and have had no side effects, chances are you can keep using them for as long as needed and as long as your doctor thinks it's still a safe option.
For most healthy women, oral contraceptives are safe for long-term use. However, there are exceptions where not everyone has the same experience when using oral contraceptives.
Progestin-only pills are suitable for all non-smokers. However, for smokers, smoking is only suitable for people under 35 years of age.
When you reach age 35, discuss birth control options with your doctor. Progestin-only pills may no longer be the best option for you.
If you are a smoker, you should choose another method of birth control to reduce your risk of complications. If you don't smoke and are over 35 years old, you and your doctor can decide together which method is best for you.
Combination pills are generally safe for non-smokers of any age. Note that smokers should avoid combination pills regardless of age. Estrogen increases the risk of blood clots in people taking the drug.
Phụ nữ hút thuốc lá
Những người hút thuốc nên tránh các viên thuốc tránh thai kết hợp bất kể tuổi tác.

3. The pill as a long-term contraceptive option

Go for regular check-ups with your gynecologist and talk about how you tolerate birth control pills. It's also important to renew and replenish your prescription before it runs out. As a long-term method of birth control, oral contraceptives require consistent use. Take your birth control pills exactly as prescribed.
Using them for a few months, stopping for a month or two and then starting them again increases the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.
Missing a dose from time to time is usually not a problem. Take it again the next day when you remember. However, this increases the risk of an unwanted pregnancy. If you regularly forget to take your pill every day, it may not be the right birth control method for you.
Remember, birth control pills do not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Remember to use a condom with the pill.

4. Side effects of short-term use

During the first few months of using birth control pills, you may experience light bleeding between periods. This condition is more common if you are taking a progestin-only pill. It usually goes away on its own but tell your doctor if it happens, along with any other side effects.
Using birth control pills can cause breast tenderness and nausea in some people. These side effects can be alleviated by taking the medication at bedtime. Try to take your pill at the same time every day, especially if you're using a progestin-only pill.

5. Side effects of long-term use

If you have no problems the first year of taking birth control pills, you can continue using them without problems for many years. Here are some possible side effects.

5.1 Cancer

A common concern about long-term oral contraceptive use is how it affects your cancer risk.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), oral contraceptive use may slightly reduce the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer.
Long-term use may slightly increase the risk of breast, liver and cervical cancer. If these cancers run in your family, be sure to tell your doctor and discuss your possible risks.

5.2 Thrombosis and heart attack

Long-term use of oral contraceptives also slightly increases the risk of blood clots and heart attack after age 35. The risk is higher if you also have:
High blood pressure. History of heart disease. Diabetes . After age 35, it's important to reevaluate your birth control options with your healthcare provider. Smoking also exacerbates these health concerns.

5.3 Migraines

If you have a history of migraines, the estrogen in the combination pill could make them worse.
However, you also may not see a change in headache intensity. If your migraines are related to your period, you may even find that birth control pills ease the pain.
Đau nửa đầu kèm vùng cổ phải là dấu hiệu bệnh gì?
Estrogen trong viên uống tránh thai kết hợp có thể làm cho chứng đau nửa đầu trở nên tồi tệ hơn.

5.4 Mood and sexual desire

For some women, taking birth control pills can cause changes in mood or sex drive. However, these types of changes are not common.

6. Risk factors to consider

Birth control pills are powerful drugs that require a prescription. Pharmacists will only prescribe them if your medical history and current health suggest they will be safe and effective. If you're healthy, you can take birth control pills without serious side effects or problems.
If you have tried birth control pills and experience unpleasant side effects, be sure to tell your doctor or pharmacist.

6.1 Smoking

If you are a tobacco user, have heart disease or other cardiovascular conditions, you may not be suitable for oral contraceptives.
In general, women who smoke can still use effective birth control pills. When you're in your 30s or older, smoking while taking it puts you at a higher risk of complications.
Smoking can decrease the effectiveness of the estrogen in the combination pills. It also increases the risk of heart disease, blood clots, and cancer.

6.2 Obesity

Birth control pills can sometimes be a little less effective for obese women. If you are obese, talk to your healthcare provider to see if the pill is your best option.

7. Alternative birth control options

If you are looking for alternative long-term birth control options, you may want to consider an intrauterine device (IUD). Depending on the type of IUD you choose, it can last from 3 to 10 years.
Most people can also use male and female condoms without problems. They also help prevent the transmission of STIs, which birth control pills cannot do.
Natural birth control options including the rhythm method. In this method, you carefully track your menstrual cycle and avoid having sex or using condoms or other barrier methods during your fertile days. Some couples also practice the “withdrawal method”. With this method, the penis is pulled out of the vagina before ejaculation.
Both treatment and withdrawal carry a higher risk of unwanted pregnancy than oral contraceptives or other methods of contraception and also a higher risk of STIs.
Unless you're trying to get pregnant or you've reached menopause, birth control pills may be a good option. Depending on the type of birth control pill you use, you will be protected from pregnancy for 7 to 10 days from the day you start taking it.
Monitor yourself and talk to your doctor. If you have sex partners, talk to them about your birth control use. If you think it's appropriate, you can also talk to family members and friends. Remember, though, someone else's experience with the Pill or any other form of birth control won't necessarily be the same as yours.
Choosing the right birth control is the right choice for your lifestyle and health needs.

8. Future fertility

Assuming you are healthy, long-term use of birth control pills should not have an adverse effect on your health. Long-term use of birth control usually does not harm your ability to get pregnant and have a healthy baby when you are no longer taking this medicine.
Your regular menstrual cycle will probably return within a month or two after you stop taking the pill. Many people get pregnant within a few months of stopping birth control pills and have healthy and uncomplicated pregnancies.
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Reference articles: healthline.com, mayoclinic.org

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