Many women who use birth control pills adjust to them with few or no problems. In fact, most women experience lighter, less painful, and more regular menstrual periods. There’s also less risk of iron deficiency, anemia, pelvic inflammation, premenstrual tension, acne, rheumatoid arthritis, and ectopic (eck-top-pick) or tubal pregnancies.

However, women may experience some mild side effects with the pill. These side effects include breast tenderness, nausea, weight gain or loss, and spotting between periods. All of these may be temporary or mild, and changing the type of pill used may alleviate the particular symptom.

One should also be aware of the risks associated with the pill, including an increased risk of heart attack, blood clots, stroke, and liver tumors. The risks associated with the pill increase after age thirty-five, but low-dose pills can be used until menopause by non-smokers. It is recommended for women with cardiovascular problems, liver problems, or a history of headaches or migraines to avoid taking the pill. Other factors that may increase the risks associated with the pill are high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and smoking cigarettes.

Before you begin taking the pill, your healthcare provider will need to perform a physical examination and compile a complete medical history to make sure the pill is the correct form of birth control to prescribe. Once a woman begins taking the pill, an annual pelvic exam and pap smear are recommended.