Is it true that women who 'go on the pill' experience effects like vomiting, head-aches, skin-problems more than women who don't? Are these pills actually bad for health?

  • 2
    Not a duplicate; this is a much broader question.
    – dan04
    Commented May 14, 2011 at 14:20
  • 3
    how is this not answerable by just reading the listed side effects which come with the medication? Commented May 21, 2011 at 8:32
  • 2
    The overall answer can only be arrived at by weighing the costs and the benefits personally. Pregnancy is not risk-free or consequence free. The side effects, and their relative cost versus the cost of pregnancy, can only be judged by the individual. But they need to be well informed, which is why this a good question.
    – matt_black
    Commented Oct 16, 2011 at 23:19
  • 1
    Does "anti-pregnancy" mean contraceptive or abortifacient?
    – vartec
    Commented Oct 24, 2011 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


I copy below the side effects reported on MedlinePlus (part of the National Library of Medicine, NIH).

Every drug may have side effects. Those will vary with every person and the dosage used. If you read the prospect that comes with the drug, you can find all the reported side effects in there. It will include the side effects observed during the clinical trials as well as any post market effect observed during phase IV studies. Does this mean that every person will have problems? No. Will these problems be serious? It depends. All it means is that these effects have been observed, and the most probable cause is the drug administration. As always, ask your doctor!


What side effects can this medication cause? Oral contraceptives may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:



stomach cramps or bloating



gingivitis (swelling of the gum tissue)

increased or decreased appetite

weight gain or weight loss

brown or black skin patches


hair growth in unusual places

bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods

changes in menstrual flow

painful or missed periods

breast tenderness, enlargement, or discharge

swelling, redness, irritation, burning, or itching of the vagina

white vaginal discharge

Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:

severe headache

severe vomiting

speech problems

dizziness or faintness

weakness or numbness of an arm or leg

crushing chest pain or chest heaviness

coughing up blood

shortness of breath

pain, warmth, or heaviness in the back of the lower leg

partial or complete loss of vision

double vision

bulging eyes

severe stomach pain

yellowing of the skin or eyes

loss of appetite

extreme tiredness, weakness, or lack of energy


dark-colored urine

light-colored stool

swelling of the hands, feet, ankles or lower legs

depression, especially if you also have trouble sleeping, tiredness, loss of energy, or other mood changes

unusual bleeding


menstrual bleeding that is unusually heavy or that lasts for longer than 7 days in a row

Oral contraceptives may increase the chance that you will develop liver tumors. These tumors are not a form of cancer, but they can break and cause serious bleeding inside the body. Oral contraceptives may also increase the chance that you will develop breast or liver cancer, or have a heart attack, a stroke, or a serious blood clot. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using oral contraceptives.

Oral contraceptives may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

  • This answer could probably be more relevant, if it had some ballpark figures for how many women experience side effects (percentage wise). Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 13:20

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