Bleeding & Birth control: Questions answered

Deciding on the correct birth control method and what works for you is a very important decision that affects your overall physical and emotional health. Therefore, it is important to consult your doctor or OB/GYN  with regards to what contraceptive method works best for you. Here we have compiled a list of the most common questions and concerns women have with regards to periods and birth control methods.

How does birth control affect my bleeding?

Since birth control methods such as the  pill, IUD, vaginal rings etc. are all very different from one another, the effects they have on your menstrual bleeding differs with each option. Some may cause you to bleed heavily while others might decrease the flow. Birth control can even take an affect on how long or short your cycle maybe. Speak to your doctor about the side effects of each method available and decide on which one works best for you.

Do I still ovulate when I’m on the pill?

If you are using birth control pills as your method of contraception, you will not be ovulating as this is the way the pill prevents pregnancies from occurring.  

Can I get pregnant as I stop using the pill?

When you feel the time is right and want to try having kids, you should stop using the pill. Research has shown that most women get pregnant within the first three months of stopping the pill while some may take up to 12 months. This all depends on your body, overall health and underlying conditions, if any.

Do I have to take birth control everyday?

IUDs, Patches and Vaginal rings etc. once administered or inserted into your body, will work long term for a few months or even up to a year, depending on which option you chose. Your consulting doctor will advise you on when you need to change or insert your next IUD, patch or Vaginal ring. When it comes to birth control pills, it is crucial to take the prescribed dosage every day, preferably at the same time. Best way to remind yourself would be to set an alarm on your phone for the same time, everyday.

What specific side effects can I expect?

Side effects differ from person to person. Some women may experience most of the effects given below while some not feel any of it. Some very common side effects include nausea, headaches, spotting, changes in your periods, sore breasts, bloating etc.  Most of the time, the side effects tend to ease up or go away within a couple of months.

What are the benefits of using a birth control pill?

While the birth control pill has many side effects, there are also a number of health benefits you may experience whilst on the pill. Besides the prevention of pregnancy, combination birth control pills can help reduce period cramps, lighten your period, reduce acne, prevent cysts in breasts and ovaries, reduce the risk of ovarian cancer  and help treat anemia.

When is it time to see a doctor about irregular bleeding and spotting?

As previously mentioned, since every woman's body reacts differently to birth control methods it is hard to pin-point when irregular bleeding is not normal. Some situations where it would be advisable to seek out medical help would be if you are having a lot of pain during your period or intercourse's, if you are pregnant or if you’ve been using the same birth control method for over 3 months.

When should I seek different options?

While there are common side effects while on birth control, neither of the above methods should make you feel sick or uncomfortable for prolonged periods of time.  If after a couple of months, your contraceptive method is making you sick, do consult your doctor who may suggest a different method or brand. It is common for most people to try a few different methods over time before finding one that works best.