Birth control is a beautiful thing. Not only is it the most popular pregnancy-prevention method in the United States, it is the first medication for completely healthy women who want a little more control over their sex lives. As revolutionary as birth control has become, finding the right option can prove to be a little bit like trial and error. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to your bodily changes when you start to take your pill of choice, so you can read the signs your birth control might not be for you.
Initially market as a fertility drug and then as a PMS drug, the FDA approved the birth control in 1960, giving women a newfound sense of freedom and choice. But the pill still isn't perfect — at least, not for everyone. There are some negative side affects to birth control, one of them being that if you don't use it properly, it won't work. But you don’t have to settle for a pill that’s making you less than happy. I recently spoke with Claire Heidtke, an obstetrician and gynecologist. During our conversation, she revealed eight signs that your birth control may not be for you, and that you should consult with a doctor about making a switch.
1You're Experiencing Major Mood Swings
"Mood swings are to be expected when you're adjusting your levels of hormones," says Heidtke. "If the intensity of the mood swings persists, talk to your gynecologist, and they can suggest options with different hormone levels to help you maintain a more consistent mood." She recommends giving your birth control one to two months to level out before you attempt switching methods.
2You’ve Developed Skin Problems
Because birth control blocks ovulation and testosterone, Heidtke says it should help your skin. If it seems to have the opposite affect, she recommends asking your gynecologist for a pill with a different combination of hormones.
3You’re Experiencing Bloat & Major Weight Gain
"Estrogen makes your body retain fluid," Heidtke says. "A certain amount of weight gain should be expected." If it persists, your gynecologist may suggest a switch to a pill with a different kind of progestin, that helps act as a diuretic, rather than causing you to retain water.
4You’re Experiencing Breakthrough Bleeding
Breakthrough bleeding usually goes away, but if it persists, or if you find it annoying, Heidtke says to explore other options. If you're on a longer cycle pill, however, breakthrough bleeding can be more common. "Your uterine lining is building up," Heidtke says. "Depending on your estrogen levels, your lining may need to shed, even if you're on a lengthy cycle pill."
5You Get Migraines
"If you're suffering from migraines, it could be signifying a bigger problem," Heidtke says, as women who experience migraines while on the pill are more likely to experience blood clots and stroke.
6You Forget To Take It
Taking your birth control consistently is one of the most important parts of birth control. "Missing one pill isn't too bad," says Heidtke. "But if you find yourself forgetting time and time again, it's time to consider a change in method."
7Your Sex Drive Is Depleted
"Birth control pills stop the ovaries from creating testosterone the way they normally do," Heidtke says. As a result, the pill can easily alter with your sex drive. If you feel your libido lacking, talk to your doctor about switching to a pill with more progestin, which mimics testosterone.
8You’ve Got Low Energy
"Some birth control can deplete your body's reserves of vitamin B, which can result in fatigue," says Heidtke. "It's not uncommon to experience fatigue and nausea when your body is first adjusting to the pill."
With patience and the guidance of your gynecologist, you can find the right birth control for you. Because you and your birth control should be the best of friends, not foes.