Broadgate GP

Top Birth Control Pill Myths

Many myths abound around birth control pills; so many that it makes it hard to distinguish between what might be fact and what might be fiction; so let’s try and redress the balance a little by setting the record straight about some of the more popular myths.

Fact or fiction – the pill makes you put on weight?

The fact is that whether or not you might put on weight could depend on your prescription. Some combined contraception pills that contain oestrogen could result in increased water retention. If this does happen, it should be only a temporary phenomenon until your body adjusts. If it doesn’t, change your prescription or try the Progestogen only pill.

For the record, a study carried out by researchers at the Cochran Database System reviewed 49 studies that weighed the evidence of a number of birth control pills when compared with placebos. It found no evidence that the birth control pill caused weight gain.  

Fact or fiction – You don’t need to take the pill if you’re breastfeeding?

This is a total fiction. Breastfeeding can suppress the body’s manufacture of certain hormones that support the ovulation process. This could result in a lowering of your fertility, but if you were to rely on this as a method of contraception

Fact or fiction – you must take the pill the same time each day?

This myth is not entirely true. It has some basis in fact but this is only if you are taking the Progestogen only contraceptive pill. Doctors recommend that this type of pill is best taken around the same time every day.

If you are taking the combined contraceptive pill which contains both Oestrogen and Progestogen you have a much wider window.Most women however prefer to get into a regular routine so that they don’t forget to take the pill, but anytime (as long as it’s taken daily) will suffice.

Fact or fiction – taking the pill for long durations reduces fertility

The fact of the matter is that many women who regularly take the pill over many years, and who then decide to stop taking it because they want to start a family, fall pregnant almost immediately.

The only case where contraception does interfere with fertility is if you are having the contraceptive injection. As it’s designed to stay in your body system for several months, it could take somewhere in the region of 6 to 9 month to wash through – especially if you are taking the Depo Provera shot.

But as far as the contraceptive pill is concerned – it will not adversely affect your fertility.

Fact or fiction – more recent types of contraception aren’t as effective as old types

It has been known for some time that regular use of the combined contraceptive pill increases the risk in some women of a blood clot forming. However the risk was greatly exaggerated by the media when they reported that 1 million women were at risk here in the UK.

The fact is that it is believed that only approximately 12 women in every 10,000 could be at risk. According to Dr. Sarah Branch of The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), “Women should continue to take their contraceptive pill. These are very safe, highly effective medicines for preventing unintended pregnancy and the benefits associated with their use far outweigh the risk of blood clots in veins or arteries.”

If you are concerned, you should talk to your GP.

Fact or fiction – it unhealthy to use the pill to miss a period

Although a doctor would not ordinarily recommend using the pill to miss periods, if you have been passed fit to take the pill in the first place, it’s unlikely to do you any harm if you do use it to skip periods. You should however consult your GP before doing so just in case you have any underlying conditions that suggest you shouldn’t.

Many women think that the bleeding that occurs during the time they take the seven inactive pills is their period. This is not the case. The bleeding is your body’s natural reaction to not taking the hormones.

If you do use the pill to delay or miss your periods you may experience breakthrough bleeding, especially during the first few months of your new regime.

Another potential disadvantage is that it may be more difficult to ascertain whether or not you might be pregnant. If you experience morning sickness, tenderness of the breasts and you feel unusually tired, you should see your GP. You could be pregnant even though it would be highly unlikely.

Fact or fiction – You need to take a break from birth control

Whether you take the combined contraceptive pill or the progestogen only pill you can stay on your preferred contraceptive pill for as long as you like without endangering your health.

Call in to the well women clinic or the family planning clinic at Broadgate Clinic London Wall for contraception advice

If you have any other questions about contraception please feel free to browse through our website. If you live and /or work in London and you have any questions concerns or problems with contraception of any sort, you can pop into the private, walk-in well woman clinic or family planning clinic services that we operate here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall.  

Our opening hours are:

Monday to Thursday             08:00 to 18:30

Friday                                      08:00 to 17:30

If you prefer to phone ahead to make an appointment, the number to call is 020 7638 4330.