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Medically reviewed by
Dr Daniel Atkinson
GP Clinical Lead
on August 02, 2022.
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Combined pill side effects

Combined birth control pills are oral contraceptives that contain two hormones oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones can stop the release of an egg from the ovaries and also keep sperm from fertilising an egg, by causing changes in the cervical mucus and the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to keep sperm from joining the egg.

There are different types of combined oral contraceptive pills. They contain different versions of progesterone and oestrogen or have a higher dose of them.

When you start a new medication, there are chances that you may get some side effects. Some of the most common birth control pill side effects are breast tenderness, headaches, nausea, bloating, rise in blood pressure levels, menstrual cycle changes and breakthrough bleeding or spotting. In most cases these present as pretty mild and go away in time.

Although uncommon, there can be some serious side effects of going on the pill. Blood clots or liver, gallbladder and heart problems to name a few.

Side effects can vary between contraceptive pills. But you should always seek immediate medical help if you have any serious side effects, including:

  • severe abdominal pain
  • skin infection
  • depression
  • vision problems
  • persistent heavy bleeding
  • severe headache
  • seizures
  • jaundice
  • swelling in your legs
  • two consecutive missed periods.

How safe is the pill?

The pill is safe and can be over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. This means less than 1 in 100 people taking the pill will get pregnant each year if it’s taken correctly and continuously. This makes it one of the most effective forms of contraception. But like all other medications, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing. It might not be as right for you as it is for others.

You should always let your prescriber know about any medical conditions that you have during consultation. They’ll be able to advise if the pill is safe for you.

If you are over 35 years and smoke, you shouldn’t take combined contraceptive pills or any other kind of pills which have the oestrogen hormone. Avoid taking the pill if you have liver problems, deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, uncontrolled high blood pressure, unexplained bleeding from vagina, uncontrolled blood sugar levels, heart problems or are breastfeeding.

Clinical studies have shown a relationship between the pill and breast cancer. While some indicate that oral contraceptives increase the risk of breast cancer, others conclude that only high-dose oestrogen birth control pills can trigger this risk. There is no definitive result on this yet but you can always discuss your concerns with your doctor.

Can the pill cause headaches?

Some women report that birth control pills give them some relief from migraines. While for others, they can trigger headaches or worsen their symptoms. This depends on how your body responds to the medication and the level of hormones that your pills have.

Some women can be sensitive to the hormones that are present in birth control pills, especially oestrogen. When there’s a dip in the oestrogen levels, they experience symptoms of headaches or migraines. This drop in oestrogen is mostly seen in women just before their period starts.

However, if you already have menstrual migraines, the combined contraceptive pill can balance your oestrogen levels during your menstrual cycle and help prevent headaches.

Headaches are one of the most common side effects of contraceptive pills. But if you’re getting birth control headaches everyday or they have worsened, get in touch with your prescriber and let them know. They’ll be able to suggest an alternative that might be more suitable for you.

Can the pill cause hair loss?

Some birth control pills have been linked to hair loss. One of the synthetic hormones used in contraceptive pills is progestin, which is the synthetic form of the natural hormone progesterone. These progestins act like androgens (male hormones) in the body. When there is a rise in androgenic activity, it can lead to hair thinning or hair loss. The natural hormone progesterone is anti-androgenic.

But not all women taking birth control pills experience hair loss problems. It depends on how your hair follicles react to the hormones in the pill that you’re taking. And also if you are sensitive to hormonal changes happening in your body.

If you have a family history of hair loss, let the prescriber know during consultation. They’ll consider a treatment that has more oestrogen (and less progestin) as it can trigger hair growth. You can also opt for a non-hormonal form of birth control such as the copper coil.

So, although some birth control pills have been linked to hair loss, birth control pills and hair growth is still possible.

Birth control: what are the emotional side effects?

Oral combined birth control pills are well-tolerated by most women. But some women go through physical and emotional changes while taking them. Depression, mood swings, anxiety, fatigue, low sex drive and premenstrual mood worsening are just some of the reported emotional side effects of birth control pills.

Though the link between birth control depression and the pill hasn’t yet been clear, some studies find that there have been higher scores of depressed mood in women taking combined contraceptive pills.

In most cases these side effects usually occur when you start the pill and go away within a few weeks but if they linger on for long, let your prescriber know. They might advise you to try an alternative.

It is possible to use birth control without experiencing mood swings but it may require some patience to find the best pill for you.

One option might be to go for low dose combined contraceptive pills as they don’t cause mood swings. Mini pills are another good way to reduce the likelihood of mood swings on the pill as they have low levels of hormones.

One study found that the use of oral contraceptives lead to structural changes in the brain and emotional processing of women. This altered the way they react to certain stimuli and tolerate different levels of stress, potentially making them more vulnerable to mood-related problems. So, how your brain reacts on birth control could be different to how it would normally react.

Another mental aspect to think about is stress and can stress cause birth control to fail? Whilst it’s not proven to impact the pill’s efficacy there’s a chance it can affect its effectiveness if left uncontrolled. So, it is important to keep your stress levels in check and speak to your doctor if you’re struggling with your mental health.

Birth control and your safety

Your birth control pills protect you from unwanted pregnancies but how safe are they?

Most women using them are satisfied with their results, but there are a few who experience side effects and give up on their treatment halfway. Some of the most common side effects are vomiting, nausea, headaches, bloating and a rise in blood pressure levels. These often go away after a few weeks.

With some hormonal birth control, your risk of blood clot increases – but the overall risk is still quite low. Women using oestrogen-containing birth control, like the combination pill, patch or vaginal ring, have a higher risk of blood clots.

The normal ratio of blood clots in women is 1 in every 10,000 while for those taking oestrogen-containing birth control for over a year it increases to around 3 in every 10,000.

For the average woman taking birth control pills, the overall risk of a blood clot is still small. Only one in 3000 women per year who are taking birth control pills will develop a blood clot; but for women with thrombophilia or a history of thrombosis, the risk is higher. For women who are at increased risk, alternative methods are available. One alternative is progestin-only contraceptives.

Birth control blood clots can lead to deep vein thrombosis, hypertension (high blood pressure), heart attack, stroke or pulmonary embolism. Not everyone has the same risk profile, it can depend on your medical history. You might be more at risk of these conditions if you already have high blood pressure, are overweight or have any other medical condition. It is down to the prescriber to assess your risk and prescribe the best contraceptive to suit you.

Can birth control make you infertile?

No. Studies have found that hormonal birth control pills don’t positively or negatively affect fertility.

So, if you have taken birth control for a long time, don’t worry. And no matter which birth control method you have used —  whether it's birth control pills, or the patch, vaginal ring, intrauterine device (IUD), implant or injection - your chances of getting pregnant remain the same as someone who’s never used them.

Once you’re off the pill, your body will ideally get back to ovulating. Your menstrual cycle should be back to normal within 1–3 months. If it isn’t, consult your clinician.

Can I take birth control if I have a family history of breast cancer?

The use of oral contraceptives does not affect or modify the risk of breast cancer in women with a family history of breast cancer.

But some clinical studies have found that women with a family history of breast cancer, who used oral contraceptives before 1975, had a higher risk of breast cancer than those who took it after that.

Prior to 1975, oral birth control pills had a high volume of oestrogen and progestin hormones. Today, oral contraceptives use a lower dose of these hormones which make them much safer to use.

But there are studies which do not totally refute the relative link between the two. One such study showed that the risk varied with age — older women (above 35 or 45 years) who were still taking hormonal birth control pills had a greater risk. In women older than 35 years, there was one person diagnosed among every 7,690 women. And for women younger than 35 years, there was one among every 50,000 women.

It’s difficult to accurately say how birth control affects breast cancer risk, as studies into the subject have produced conflicting results. But it’s generally thought that if birth control does increase the risk of breast cancer, it’s a very small increase at most.

There is, however, enough evidence to show that hormonal contraceptive pills can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, and colorectal cancer.

Can you overdose on birth control?

If you take more than one pill in a day, you might not experience any side effects and can continue with your usual dose the next day. But if you’ve taken many birth control pills either purposely or accidentally, you might feel sick, vomit or have vaginal bleeding. This kind of discomfort is most likely to go away in a day.

Though there aren’t any serious or harmful effects of overdosing on birth control pills, you should stick to the dosage prescribed by your clinician.

Why does spotting while on birth control happen?

Spotting, irregular bleeding or breakthrough bleeding is a common symptom which most women experience when they start birth control.

You can have spotting while on birth control if you’ve missed or skipped a dose, you smoke, there’s an interaction with another medication you’re taking, you’re on continuous birth control like progestin-only pills or you have a sexually transmitted infection (STIs), vomiting, diarrhea or yeast infection.

Besides contraception, birth control pills are also prescribed for treatment of other health conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, endometriosis or perimenopause. Spotting or irregular bleeding might also happen due to this.

One good way to reduce or prevent spotting on birth control is to take your contraception at the same time everyday. This will help balance the hormonal changes in your body.

Spotting on birth control isn’t a serious condition and usually goes away in a few weeks as your body gets used to the new hormone levels brought about by the medication. If you start bleeding heavily or your spotting continues even after 6 months of you starting it, consult with your clinician.

Remember to follow the instructions given by your clinician when using birth control. If you have any questions while you're taking it, just log into your account and send us a message.

Contraceptive patch side effects

The contraceptive patch (also called transdermal contraceptive patch) is a type of birth control that contains oestrogen and progestin hormones. The patch prevents ovulation (release of an egg) each month and protects you from unwanted pregnancies.

You can wear the contraceptive patch on your upper body, upper outer arm, back, lower belly, thighs or buttocks.

As with any kind of medication or birth control method, you might get some side effects when you start with a contraception patch. Some of the most common birth control patch side effects include nausea, fatigue, headache, irregular bleeding or spotting, mood swings, weight gain, menstrual pain, skin irritation and tender breasts. These are mild side effects and they usually go away after a few weeks. But if the patch side effects continue for long, consult with your clinician. They might suggest an alternative.

Though rare, there are some serious transdermal contraceptive patch side effects. Some of them are changes in your period cycle, stomach pain, lumps in your breast, chest pain, weakness, breathlessness, jaundice, migraine and new or worsening depression.

The contraceptive patch may increase the chances of having blood clots. So, if you’ve had a blood clot before, avoid using a patch.

The only licensed birth control patch available in the UK is Evra. In the US, it’s called Ortho-Evra. You can stick the patch to a clean, dry area of the skin with no hair. The upper back, outer upper arm, buttocks and abdomen are the preferred areas for placing the Evra patch.

But there are Evra patch side effects too. So, if you’re getting side effects like headaches, nausea or tender breasts while using the patch, don’t panic. They’re normal.

You may also experience some side effects while coming off the patch. This happens mainly due to the hormonal changes happening in your body. The potential coming off Evra patch side effects, like irregular periods, are mild and should reduce as your body adjusts to not using it.

Brown haired woman with glasses looking down and smiling indoors

Contraceptive ring side effects

The vaginal ring (or contraceptive ring) is a safe and effective birth control method. Like the combined pill or patch, the ring contains oestrogen and progesterone hormones which protect you from unwanted pregnancies.

You’re likely to get some side effects when you start using the contraceptive ring. The most common side effects (affecting about 1 in 10 women) are the ring coming out, migraine, headache, decrease in sex drive, nausea, vaginal itching, vaginal discomfort, pelvic pain, acne, pain in breasts, painful periods or weight gain.

The side effects should only give you discomfort for a short period of time and, for many, they will reduce altogether. But if they’re causing you too much trouble and significantly affecting your day-to-day life, speak to your doctor.

There are some serious contraceptive ring side effects to be aware of such as blood clots in veins or arteries, severe chest pain, sudden shortness of breath, continuous leg pain, allergic reactions, high blood pressure, gallbladder problems, liver issues, trouble in speaking, diarrhoea or sudden high fever.

Though the chances of experiencing these side effects are slim, in case you suffer from any of these after starting the ring, seek medical help immediately.

Nuvaring is a licensed contraceptive ring used by many women today as it gives 99% protection against pregnancies when used ‘perfectly’. But it too brings in some side effects. Some uncommon Nuvaring side effects (affecting about 1 in 100 women) are dizziness, swelling in abdomen, fatigue, visual problems, mood swings, gallbladder infection, problems during intercourse, difficulty in passing urine, back pain, leg or arm pain changes in menstrual cycle, vaginal infection, vaginal dryness, hair loss, itching, vomiting, constipation or diarrhoea, problems during intercourse like bleeding or pain, sore breasts, lumps in breast, rise in blood pressure, rashes or spasms of the uterus.

Which contraception has the least side effects?

To pick out the best birth control pills with least side effects isn’t easy. The different forms of contraception are safe and effective, but your body may respond differently to each of these methods. What works well for you may not work in the same way for everyone. It all depends on your medical history and your choice of contraception.

It’s also important to remember that some side effects are more serious than others. Extensive studies have shown that women who use the combined pill are around 1.6 times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who don’t. If your risk is low anyway, this doesn’t increase it by much. But if you have risk factors for these problems then it’s definitely something to consider.

When you start with birth control, it might take a few tries to be able to decide which one works best for you. Your doctor will be able to help you out.

Can birth control cause loss of libido?

Some women using birth control have noticed that they’re less interested in sex. Few women have reported an increased libido while some didn’t see any change in their sexual desire.

In a 2013 study out of 8,422 women using oral birth control, 1,826 reported an increase in their sex drive, 5,358 noticed no change and only 1,238 reported a decrease.

So, we can say that birth control low sex drive isn’t a factor for everyone. It is a potential side effect that differs from person to person.

Can birth control cause joint and muscle pain?

Joint pain or muscle pain isn’t typically a birth control side effect. Only a few women have reported it while using contraceptives, though there might have been other factors triggering it.

Will I get cramps on birth control?

Most women using birth control have mild or no cramping in the pelvis. This basically happens when you start taking birth control and your body is trying to adjust to the hormonal changes taking place. But pelvic pain on birth control should decrease or stop within a few weeks.

But if you experience severe pelvic pain, get in touch with your doctor. You may also notice bleeding, vomiting, fever, dizziness or nausea along with it.

Are there any long term side effects of birth control pills?

Long term use of birth control can have some good, as well as some not-so-good, effects. It depends on the person’s overall health condition, age and medical history.

Birth control can decrease the risk of ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer and colorectal cancer. But can increase the risk of developing blood clots and heart attack. The risk becomes higher if you’re over 35 and smoke, or you already have high blood pressure, diabetes or heart problems.

Most women tolerate birth control pills well and don’t experience any serious side effects. If you’ve been using contraception for many years and haven’t had any problems with them, it tends to mean that you should be able to continue using it for as long as you want. But in doing so, it’s important to keep checking in with your doctor. They’ll be able to advise you about the safety risks involved with using birth control for a long time.

Side effects of stopping birth control

Stopping birth control may have different side effects for different women. Some women may experience cramping, acne, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), mood swings, changes in weight, sex drive, irregular menstrual cycles, tender breasts, headaches and heavy periods.

If you are stopping birth control in order to become pregnant then there might also be a delay of a few months in conceiving.

Generally, coming off birth control is simple and hassle-free. If you’re taking oral birth control pills, you can simply stop taking them. If you’re using Nuvaring, you can easily remove it by yourself but if you’re using an IUD (intrauterine device), you’ll only be able to get it removed by a doctor. In case you have sudden fever or heavy vaginal bleeding after removing the IUD, seek immediate medical help.

It is good to take advice from your doctor before you stop taking birth control. They’ll be able to guide you how to do it safely and correctly. Ideally, your body needs 2-3 months to readjust but if it doesn’t, consult your doctor.

What should I do about side effects on combined birth control?

The side effects on combined birth control are normally mild and reduce as the body gets used to the medication. However, if they continue for too long and interfere with your daily activities, speak to your doctor.

They may suggest an alternative contraceptive like progestogen-only pills (or mini pills) or an IUD depending on what works best for you.

Cilest pill side effects

Like all medicines, Cilest can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Some of the most common ones (affecting more than 1 in 10 people) include:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • period problems.

Some other Cilest side effects (affecting more than 1 in 100 people) are:

  • feeling dizzy or weak
  • changes in weight
  • mood swings
  • nervousness
  • sleeping disorders
  • migraine
  • tender breasts
  • stomach problems
  • constipation
  • swelling/pain in hands, arms, feet or back
  • skin problems
  • depression.

For a full list of side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Cilique pill side effects

Side effects are possible with any kind of hormonal contraception. Common Cilique pill side effects happen for as many as 1 in 100 people. The side effects mostly go away over time, so you don’t have to worry.

You might experience

  • headache
  • stomach pain
  • abnormal bleeding
  • vaginal infection and discharge
  • nausea
  • diarrhoea
  • tender breasts
  • mood change
  • restlessness or nervousness
  • skin rashes

Taking your Cilique pill as directed will help reduce your chances of side effects.

Some other common side effects of the Cilique pill include

  • urinary tract
  • infection
  • missed periods
  • PMS symptoms
  • stomach ache
  • dizziness
  • skin rash
  • acne
  • fluctuating weight
  • fluid retention
  • back pain
  • mood changes.

Cilique pill weight gain is one of the most commonly reported side effects, although, for most, this is usually minimal.

For a full list of side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Cimitz side effects

Some common side effects reported among women using Cimizt include:

  • headache
  • weight gain
  • mood changes
  • tender breasts
  • digestive issues.

Cimitz pill side effects tend to pass after you’ve been using it for a few months. But if these persist for longer, let your clinician know.

For a full list of side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Elevin side effects

Like other combined contraceptive pills, you may experience some side effects while taking Elevin. The common ones (affecting 1 in 10 women) are

  • headaches
  • bleeding or spotting between periods
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • low libido
  • inflammation of the vagina
  • nervousness
  • stupor
  • dizziness
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fluid retention in tissue (oedema)
  • acne
  • breast pain
  • breast enlargement
  • breast tenderness
  • nipple discharge
  • changes in vaginal secretion
  • changes in cervical secretion
  • painful or irregular periods
  • absence of periods
  • weight gain or loss

For most women, these side effects are mild, and disappear after a few weeks. But if you find that they persist, or if you experience any side effects that cause you discomfort, contact our prescriber. They may advise you to switch to a different pill, and they can suggest alternative options.

For a full list of side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Eloine side effects

You may have some side effects when you start taking Eloine, though not everyone gets them. The most common Eloine pill side effects are:

  • mood swings
  • headache
  • nausea
  • breast pain
  • irregular periods
  • absence of periods

For a full list of side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Evra patch side effects

Some women who use Evra Patch may get side effects. It’s quite common for these to appear at the start, and go away on their own after a few weeks once your body gets used to the hormones in the patch.

Most common side effects of Evra Patch include:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • tender breasts
  • vaginal yeast infection
  • mood problems
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • dizziness
  • migraine
  • stomach ache
  • bloating
  • vomiting or diarrhoea
  • acne
  • skin problems
  • breast problems like pain, enlargement or lumps in the breast
  • changes in menstrual bleeding pattern, uterine cramps, painful periods, vaginal discharge
  • problems where the patch has been on the skin such as redness, irritation, itching or rash
  • feeling tired or generally unwell
  • weight gain

For a full list of side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Femodene side effects

The most common side effects for Femodene include:

  • nausea
  • weight gain
  • sore or painful breasts
  • change in mood
  • stomach ache
  • headache

Femodene side effects are usually mild and go away after a few weeks. If you get any side effects that continue for long, let your clinician know. They may adjust your dosage or give you an alternative.

For a full list of side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Femodette side effects

Like other combined contraceptives, Femodette can cause side effects but not everyone gets
them. If you get any side effect, that’s severe and persistent, or if you have noticed any change
to your health which you think may be due to Femodette, please let your doctor know.

Some of the common Femodette side effects are:

  • feeling sick
  • stomach ache
  • putting on weight
  • headache
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • sore or painful breasts

For a full list of side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Gedarel side effects

Gedarel comes in two doses - 20 and 30 - and you take it once daily for the first 21 days out of every 28.

Gedarel 20 150 side effects

Gedarel pill 20 150 is a lower dose of the pill, containing less oestrogen. It’s prescribed to women who may have tried taking Gedarel 30 or a similar pill, found it generally worked well, but caused mild oestrogenic side effects (bloating, headaches, breast fullness), and so might find Gedarel 20 more suitable.

Though rare, you may get some mild side effects when you start taking it.

The most common side effect of Gedarel (affecting 1 in 10 women) is irregular bleeding.

Other common Gedarel pill side effects are:

  • abdominal pain
  • acne
  • weight gain
  • feeling sick
  • headache
  • mood changes
  • feeling depressed
  • painful periods
  • having no periods
  • tender breasts
  • pain in breasts.

For a full list of side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Gedarel 30 150 side effects

The Gedarel pill 30 150 is suitable for those who have no or minimal issues tolerating a pill with a fairly standard level of oestrogen. If you’ve taken the 20 version and found it doesn’t do quite enough to tackle progestogenic side effects, a higher dose of oestrogen like that in the 30 may help.

Though generally well tolerated, you may get some mild side effects when taking Gedarel 30 150.

The most common is irregular bleeding. Other common ones include

  • headache
  • feeling sick
  • feeling depressed
  • having no periods, painful periods
  • abdominal pain
  • mood changes
  • weight gain
  • acne
  • tender breasts
  • pain in breasts.

For a full list of side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Katya side effects

Katya combined contraceptive pills can cause some side effects which usually fade away after a few weeks of use. If you get any side effects that cause you trouble for long, get in touch with your clinician. 

Some common side effects (affecting around 1 in 10 people) include: 

  • headaches 
  • visual problems
  • poor tolerance of contact lenses
  • Migraines
  • fluid retention
  • nervousness
  • acne
  • nausea, 
  • increase in weight
  • bleeding and spotting between your periods 
  • absence or reduced menstruations
  • sore breasts
  • low libidio
  • mood changes
  • depressive moods
  • irritability.

For a full list of side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Levest side effects

Like other combined pills, you may get some mild side effects when you start taking Levest.

Most common among them are:

headache
stomach ache
increase in weight
depressive mood
mood swings
sore, tender or painful breasts

For a full list of Levest pill side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Lizinna pill side effects

When you start taking Lizinna, you may experience some side effects that are usually mild and often subside as the body gets used to hormonal changes. In case you get any serious side effects while you’re taking this Lizinna or your side effects continue or long, speak with your clinician.

Most commonly reported Lizinna side effects (affects more than 1 in 10 women) are:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • bleeding and spotting between your periods for the first few months
  • painful or unusual periods

Some other common side effects (affecting more than 1 in 100 women)

  • migraine
  • mood changes
  • swollen hands, ankles or feet
  • feeling nervous or dizzy
  • depression
  • sleeping disorders
  • constipation
  • painful or sore breasts
  • stomach ache
  • bloating
  • weakness
  • acne
  • rash
  • vaginal discharge
  • vaginal infections (like thrush)
  • muscle spasms
  • pain in the legs, arms and back
  • urinary tract infections (pain on passing urine)
  • irregular periods or no periods

For a full list of side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Logynon side effects

Some of the most common Logynon side effects (affecting between 100 and 1000 in every 10,000 women) are:

  • feeling sick
  • sore stomach
  • headache
  • sore or painful breasts
  • weight gain
  • depressive mood
  • mood changes.

For a full list of side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Lucette side effects

Almost all combined contraceptive pills, including Lucette, may bring in some side effects when you take it. These side effects are mostly mild and go away in a few weeks. In case you experience any serious side effects, consult with your clinician immediately.

Some common Lucette pill side effects (affecting up to 1 in 10 women) are:

  • headache
  • depressive mood
  • migraine
  • nausea
    menstrual disorders
  • bleeding or spotting between periods
  • breast pain
  • tender breasts
  • thick, whitish vaginal discharge
  • vaginal yeast infection.

For a full list of side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Maexeni side effects

Some common Maexeni pill side effects (affecting between 100 and 1000 in every 10,000 women)

  • nausea
  • headache
  • stomach ache
  • increase in weight
  • depressive moods
  • changes in mood
  • sore or painful breasts

For a full list of side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Mercilon side effects

You may get some side effects when you start Mercilon. But these are often mild, and disappear after a few weeks. But if you find that they persist, or if you get any side effects that cause you more discomfort, let our clinician know. They may recommend that you switch to a different pill, and can advise you on alternatives that may be more suitable for you.

Common reported Mercilon pill side effects (affectig up to 1 in 10 people) are:

  • headache
  • weight increase
  • depression
  • changes in mood
  • sore, painful or tender breasts
  • nausea
  • abdominal pain

For a full list of side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Microgynon side effects

It’s possible you’ll experience side effects while taking Microgynon. Most of the side effects associated with birth control aren’t serious, and many occur just after you start taking it and go away on their own as your body adjusts to the new hormone levels.

Common Microgynon 30 side effects (may affect between 100 and 1000 in every 10,000 women)

  • nausea
  • stomach ache
  • weight gain
  • headache
  • depressive moods
  • mood swings
  • tender or painful breasts

For a full list of Microgynon pill side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Millinette side effects

Milinette may cause some side effects. In most cases, these side effects are mild and disappear after a few weeks. But if you find that they persist, or if you get side effects that cause you more discomfort, consult with your clinician.

Some very common side effects (affecting more than 1 in 10 women):

  • headache
  • bleeding and spotting between periods.

Some other common side effects (affecting up to 1 in 10 women):

  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • mood changes
  • vaginal infection
  • depression
  • nervousness
  • pain in breasts
  • stomach ache
  • acne
  • painful menstruation
  • no menstruation
  • weight increase
  • breast tenderness
  • breast pain
  • breast swelling
  • breast discharge.

For a full list of Millinette pill side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Norinyl-1 side effects

Like all medicines, Norinyl-1 can cause side effects although not everybody gets them.

Some side effects of Norinyl-1 are:

  • feeling sick
  • headache
  • stomach upset
  • weight gain
  • changes in appetite
  • high blood pressure
  • irregular vaginal bleeding
  • depression
  • sore or swollen breasts
  • low libido
  • worsening of womb disorders

For a full list of Norinyl-1 side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

NuvaRing side effects

Women who don’t want the hassle of a pill every day may find NuvaRing a more low-maintenance option. It is a very safe method of contraception.

You may get side effects when starting a new birth control method, but they’re usually mild and go away on their own after a month or two.

Some common side effects of Nuvaring (affecting up to 1 in 10 women) are:

  • the ring falling out
  • abdominal pain
  • feeling sick
  • vaginal yeast infection (like ‘thrush’)
  • discomfort in the vagina due to the ring
  • itching in the genitals
  • secretion from the vagina
  • headache
  • migraine
  • depressive mood
  • low sex drive
  • breast pain
  • pelvic pain
  • painful menstruation
  • acne
  • weight gain

For a full list of NuvaRing side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Ovranette side effects

Some very commonly reported side effects (affecting more than 1 in 10 women) are:

  • headache
  • migraine
  • bleeding or spotting during periods.

Other common Ovranette pill side effects (affecting up to 1 in 10 women) are:

  • vaginal infection
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • depressive or low mood
  • abdominal pain or cramps
  • changes in weight
  • dizziness
  • nervousness
  • change in sex drive
  • acne
  • sore, painful or tender breasts
  • changes in the secretion from the breast
  • enlargement of breasts.

For a full list of side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Qlaira pill side effects

Qlaira is usually well tolerated and doesn’t cause side effects. If you get any side effects, don’t worry. They usually only last for a few weeks, and don’t tend to be serious. But if you find that they persist, or if they are causing you more discomfort, speak to your clinician.

These side effects have been most commonly linked with the use of Qlaira.

  • headache
  • feeling sick
  • abdominal pain
  • acne
  • menstrual disorders like no periods, bleeding or spotting, irregular bleeding, painful periods
  • breast discomfort
  • increase in weight

For a full list of Qlaira side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Rigevidon side effects

Mild side effects are fairly common when you first start using the pill or switch to a new one. A lot of the time these go away on their own after a couple of months of use. But if these continue for long, let your prescriber know and they’ll be able to discuss switching to a new pill with you.

Below are the common (affecting up to 1 in 10 women) side effects reported in women using Rigevidon:

  • Vaginitis, including vaginal candidiasis
  • mood swings
  • low sex drive
  • nervousness
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • abdominal pain
  • acne
  • breast pain
  • breast enlargement and discharge
  • painful periods
  • irregular bleeding
  • no or reduced bleeding
  • abnormality of cervix (change in cervical ectopion) and vaginal secretion
  • fluid retention/edema
  • changes in weight.

For a full list of Rigevidon pill side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Sunya side effects

Common side effects (affecting up to 1 in 10 women):

  • headache
  • nervousness
  • poor tolerance of contact lenses
  • visual disturbances
  • nausea
  • acne
  • migraine
  • weight gain
  • fluid retentions,
    bleeding and spotting between your periods can sometimes occur for the
    first few months
  • absence of or reduced menstruations
  • sore breasts
  • low sex drive
  • depressive mood
  • irritability

For a full list of Sunya pill side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Synphase side effects

Like other combined pills, taking Synphase may cause some side effects. These tend to be mild and usually resolve by themselves, but if you find that they persist, or if they cause you greater discomfort, speak with your prescriber.

Some common side effects that you might have are:

  • feeling sick
  • stomach upsets
  • weight gain
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in the way your body breaks down sugars, fats or vitamins
  • headaches
  • high blood pressure
  • depression
  • swollen or sore breasts
  • change in sex drive
  • worsening of womb disorders
  • irregular vaginal bleeding.

For a full list of Synphase pill side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Triregol side effects

You may get some mild side effects when you start taking Triregol. These aren’t serious and go away in a few weeks.

Commonly reported side effects (affecting up to 1 in 10 women) are:

  • headache
  • feeling sick
  • mood swings
  • depressive mood
  • pain in breasts
  • tender breasts
  • bleeding or spotting
  • weight gain
  • bleeding from uterus that isn’t due to menstruation
  • cholelithiasis
  • chloasma (yellow, brown patches on the skin)

For a full list of Triregol pill side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Yacella side effects

Yacella side effects are usually mild in nature when they occur. These often subside as the body gets used to the medication. But if you have effects that persist or are uncomfortable, let your prescriber know.
Some common side effects of Yacella are:

  • menstrual disorders like bleeding between periods, breast pain, breast tenderness
  • headache
  • low mood
  • migraine
  • nausea
  • changes in vaginal discharge
  • vaginal yeast infection.

For a full list of Yacella pill side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Yasmin side effects

The most commonly observed side effects associated with Yasmin are:

  • headache
  • migraine
  • depressive mood
  • nausea
  • breast pain
  • tender breasts
  • menstrual disorders
  • bleeding between periods
  • thick whitish vaginal discharge
  • vaginal yeast infection

For a full list of Yasmin side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

Zoely side effects

Like other medicines, you may experience some side effects while taking Zoely. But they tend to go away on their own in a few weeks.

Some very common side effects of Zoely are:

  • acne
  • changes to menstrual periods (e.g. absence or irregularity)

Some other side effects are:

  • decreased interest in sex
  • depression/depressed mood
  • mood changes
  • headache or migraine
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • heavy menstrual periods; breast pain; pelvic pain
  • weight gain

For a full list of Zoely side effects you should read the patient information leaflet.

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How we source info.

When we present you with stats, data, opinion or a consensus, we’ll tell you where this came from. And we’ll only present data as clinically reliable if it’s come from a reputable source, such as a state or government-funded health body, a peer-reviewed medical journal, or a recognised analytics or data body. Read more in our editorial policy.

This page was medically reviewed by Dr Daniel Atkinson, GP Clinical Lead on August 02, 2022. Next review due on August 01, 2024.

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