For most people, the risk of blood clots when using the ring, the patch, or the combined birth control pill (which is the most common type of pill) is low. But smoking increases this risk. If you are over 35 and smoke 15 or more cigarettes a day, the combination pill, patch, and ring are not safe options for you. If you’re over 35 and you smoke less than 15 cigarettes a day, talk to your provider about whether these birth control methods are safe options for you. People who smoke can always use the IUD, the implant, the shot, the mini-pill (progestin-only pill), and any method that is hormone free (like condoms, for example).
Birth control pill
If you feel like your birth control is changing your behavior, it’s time to talk to your health care provider. Everybody responds to birth control differently, and your provider can help you decide whether it’s time to try something else. It might be a matter of switching hormonal methods or deciding whether to avoid hormonal birth control altogether, or you may choose to wait it out since some negative side effects go away with time. The bottom line: If your current method is making you feel blah, don’t settle. There are a lot of methods to choose from and sometimes it can take a few tries to get it right.
If you’re under the influence of alcohol—or anything else—a birth control method that doesn’t require action right when you’re about to get your freak on may be your safest bet. Fortunately, there are plenty of options. Note: These methods will cover you against pregnancy, but you should pair them with a condom for STI protection.
And speaking of covering all your bases, here are some tips for safer, smarter hookups.
The relationship between birth control and depression is complicated, especially since different methods can affect people very differently. If you feel your birth control might be contributing to depression, talk with your health care provider. Remember, there are a lot of birth control methods out there—don’t settle until you find the right one for you!
If you have endometriosis (a condition where tissue grows outside of your uterus instead of inside it), hormonal birth control can do wonders to lessen your symptoms. There are a bunch of hormonal methods that can help regulate your periods, decrease bleeding, or even make your period go away completely.
It can be complicated to tell exactly how hormonal birth control affects mood, but you’re the only one who truly knows how you feel. Everyone reacts to birth control differently, so if you feel your birth control might be contributing to depression, talk with your health care provider. Remember, there are a lot of birth control methods out there—you can find the right one for you!
Having “loose” poop every now and then probably won’t affect how well your pill works, but severe diarrhea (eg. if you have it several times in one day) might. If you rely on the pill for birth control and you have severe diarrhea, it’s a good idea to use a backup method like condoms if you have sex while you’re sick or in the 7 days after you recover.
Most pills actually help with acne, so you could talk to provider to see about switching to another kind of pill.
Try this: If you want to stay on your current type of pill, you could try taking it at night. You could also talk to your doctor about getting a pill with less estrogen.
Maybe you need a daily reminder. We can help you out with that.
Try this: If you just started the pill in the last few months, try to power through. This problem will most likely fix itself.
Also, make sure you are taking your pills at the same time each day and not skipping pills and then doubling up. These sorts of things can increase chances of spotting.
Most methods will not cause weight gain. Many young women are starting birth control for the first time while their body is going through many other changes. Some women gain weight naturally when transitioning from their teens into their twenties. If that happens to be when a woman starts birth control, it’s easy to put the blame on the pill, patch, the implant, the hormonal IUD, or ring. The truth is each of these methods can be used without an expected weight gain. A recent study showed about 1 in 4 women who use the shot will gain some weight. However, the majority of women (3 out of 4) don’t gain much weight. So most women using the shot are able to keep their weight steady with healthy eating and regular exercise.