Could That Actually be a Side Effect from Your Contraception?! The Big Fat Guide

Could That Actually be a Side Effect from Your Contraception?! The Big Fat Guide

How combined hormonal contraceptives (containing both synthetic estrogen and progestin) affect your brain, pussy and more

Two Guns Two Hands
Warning: Contains explicit content ♦ & is not to be used as medical advice ♥ Disclaimer here

Combined hormonal contraceptives can cause some pretty unexpected side effects. Did you know that they can distort your spatial awareness... make your contact lenses feel weird... and have on impact on who you fancy f*cking?

It's important to know what changes might take place, for the duration of usage and in the long term.

The following information on side effects has not been compiled to fill you with fear and paranoia but rather to empower you with knowledge and give you more autonomy over your own health; so that if you have some troubling or unexplained new symptoms you may be able to connect them to your contraception instead of worrying that you have something inexplicably wrong with you (including mental health issues or problems in your relationship). We don't yet have enough data to predict exactly how each individual will react, so it's important to be aware of the risks whilst remembering that you may not experience any significant problems at all.

The most dangerous side effects are blood clots and strokes (although these are very rare) as well as increased risk for breast cancer and/or infertility in later life.

Other effects to keep an eye out for include depression, irrational behaviour, and disinterest in sex.

(And if you aren't getting much action anymore why are you keeping your body so drugged up... in case you need to prevent an immaculate conception!?)

Once you have read this list you may feel a little less inclined to continue with whatever birth control you’re currently on. BUT PLEASE - do not just toss away your pills or your patches and continue happily f*cking like a rabbit; with nothing but new added vigour and rosy cheeked good health. YOU NEED A NEW PLAN. Quitting hormonal contraception and not being adequately prepared is When. People. Get. Pregnant. (Take it from me - it is NOT how you want it to go). In 1995 the Government issued a warning about the risks of blood clots from newer generation pills; it was a huge media story, people freaked out and didn't know what contraception to use, and over the next 2 years abortion rates rose by 8%

By no means am I encouraging you to stay on hormonal contraception if you don’t want to.

Just remember - you are used to being able to have sex willy nilly without any cares or concerns in The Moment.

Hence you are going to have to have some stern talks with yourself in the mirror about how important it is for you to not be pregnant right now and how you must stay committed to whatever new contraceptive plan you have. When there is a penis in front of you; you must remember these stern talks. Do not simply hop-on-top-and-pray.

A further note: if you are taking hormonal contraception as a remedy for difficult periods or related disorders you may be less inclined to know the side effects. However, it may not have been made clear to you that using hormonal contraception is merely a mask for the difficult symptoms you experience. It is not a medicine, nor a cure, nor is it a medical necessity that you take it. In extreme circumstances, such as debilitatingly heavy bleeding, hormonal contraception may be a necessary short term fix, but it is only that.

 When I had severe depression if someone had told me it was a mere 'mood change' I would have immediately changed their f*cking mood let me tell you...

- BtB

An important word on mental health disturbances (or ‘mood changes’)

Most people are aware that depression, or perhaps general craziness, is a potential side effect of hormonal contraception... but if that happens you can just stop taking it and be fine right? Most likely yes, however once you have experienced depression or any negative altered mood state you are more prone to experiencing it again. You have created a new neural pathway in your brain that you may keep on trudging down again and again, particularly if you had a strong or prolonged negative reaction. These bad habits can be unlearnt; but it is extremely important to understand that you may have triggered a new negative pattern of behaviour which could linger on long after the fake hormones have left your body. (Read up about neuroplasticity if you are interested in this)


Addiction - Many women feel that they become addicted to their hormonal contraception, feeling dependant on it in ways totally unrelated to any contraceptive ends. This phenomenon has not really been studied, although estrogen is known to play a role in addictive behaviour19

Anger or feeling frustrated 58

Anxiety - mild to severe. Potentially including intrusive thoughts, panic attacks or the inability to inhibit fear9 12 13 14

Brain fog21

Changes in brain structure14

Depression - a simple word that covers a vast and complex array of negative emotions that can range from barely noticeable to life changing1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Dizziness 22 58

Glaucoma - loss of vision26

Hair loss 49

Headaches or migraines18 22

Inability to regulate emotions14

Intolerance to contact lenses22 38

Loss of identity ie “I don’t feel like me - For proof of this all you need do is speak to a few women who have taken various hormonal contraceptives.

Memory - what you remember and how you remember it is altered15 16 17

Mouth ulcers22

Reduced spatial awareness20

Reduced verbal fluency - can’t talk so good20

Ice Cream in Her Eyes
What birth control does to your head may not be so sweet. Image cc: insta @eatingboys

Changes in the way men find you attractive - unfortunate or fortuitous depending on how you look at it28. A great study involving strippers found that those who were naturally cycling received much bigger tips around the time of ovulation. However, strippers who were on The Pill received no such tip increase. The researchers concluded that naturally cycling women have increased sexual attractiveness around ovulation, and that women taking hormonal contraception miss out on this peak. 

Well now I know the best time to go shopping with my boyfriend and his wallet...

Dry vagina - possibly making sex painful. What's more, your level of juiciness may be a physical indicator to you or your partner of the level of excitement you're at. So if you’re drier than usual; you, or they, may think it’s because you’re not really that into it and perversely; worrying that you’re not enjoying sex or aren’t turned on enough often becomes a self fulfilling prophesy.24 58 Thus potentially causing new issues or insecurities in your sex life. As always; lube is your friend.

Heart attack40

Irregular heartbeat - arrhythmia29

Loss of relationship - a lasting connection between two people is a fragile thing. A complete relationship breakdown resulting from taking hormonal contraception could be due to a combination of factors: such as your sex life dying or your emotional volatility (crazy doesn’t mix well with stable relationships). Or it may be that your genuine attraction to your partner changes because of the hormonal shifts (this is not a kooky little theory, it is a widely accepted fact in the medical field25 27).

We have no data on how many break ups may have been caused by hormonal contraception, if any. It would also be difficult to determine whether hormonal contraception could be blamed for ending healthy relationships or whether it merely accelerates the break down of those that are already doomed.

Loss of sex drive - from feeling a bit less horny to actual repulsion at the thought of it. If this leads you to have sex that you’re really not enjoying it can cause lasting desensitisation of your vagina23 24 58 60

Or you could experience an increase in sex drive!61 Which is rather a bonus in my eyes, although if it coincides with a decrease in the sex drive of your partner then it could be a bit of a bummer.

Unusual hook-up choices - getting with someone you may not have otherwise batted an eyelid at25 27

Heart in Hand
Side effects include change of heart. Image cc: insta @tommydl93

Damage to parts of your cervix - parts that are necessary for conception (the S crypts that produce fertile fluid for sperm to swim in)35

Erosion of your cervix or changes in structure - including premature aging of the cervix31 32 33 58

Fibroids - non cancerous womb tumours58

Heavy / frequent / irregular bleeding or random spotting30

Increased risk of infertility or prolonged delay in return to fertility34 36 37 63

Loss of cycle - this is guaranteed for all users; the contraception works by disrupting your natural monthly cycle and although you may still bleed monthly it is Not. A. Real. Period.

Thrush / Genital warts / UTIs22 55 58

Young women’s ‘Pockets of Shaw’ do not develop properly - this is a part of your vagina that re-absorbs fluids, so if they’re underdeveloped it can basically lead to too much leaking or chronic discharge34

Heart in Hand
Finally, proof that your pussy can be a Pocket (of Shaw). Image cc: insta @visualpursuit


Appetite changes or nausea22 38

Cancer - combined hormonal contraceptives are listed as known carcinogens, however they also lower the risk of developing some cancers43 44 45 58 64

Candida22 56

Digestive issues - reduced health of gut flora (in addition to physical digestion problems the link between good gut health and good mental health is now well documented)46 59

Disturbances to blood sugar metabolism (linked to diabetes)22 56

Eczema22 53

Exacerbation of allergic reactions such as hay fever or asthma22 54

Feeling tired or generally unwell58

Fungal skin infections58

High blood pressure58

Impaired liver function22 52

Osteoporosis or problems with bone growth22 50

Skin discolouration or dark patches22 38 48 58

Suffering a stroke or a blood clot - potentially fatal or disabling for life (tragically, and recently, there are women who have died from taking contraception)38 40

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies and the inability to absorb as much nutrition from food22 51 65

Weight change - weight gain or loss and/or more fat around the backs of your arms, hips or thighs41 38 58

Heart in Hand
Have you started feeling a bit patchy? Image cc: insta @natalia_maczek
1. Kulkarni, Jayashri. "Contraceptive Pill Linked to Depression", Monash Newsline, 2005-03-01. Retrieved on 2007-10-29
2. Katherine Burnett-Watson (October 2005). "Is The Pill Playing Havoc With Your Mental Health?". Retrieved on 2007-03-20.,
3. Kulkarni J, Liew J, Garland K (2005). Depression associated with combined oral contraceptives—a pilot study. Aust Fam Physician 34 (11): 990.
4.  ACOG (2006). Practice bulletin No. 73: Use of hormonal contraception in women with coexisting medical conditions. Obstet Gynecol 107 (6): 1453–72.
5.  WHO (2004). "Low-dose combined oral contraceptives" Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 3rd, Geneva: Reproductive Health and Research, WHO.
6.  FFPRHC (2006). The UK Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (2005/2006). (PDF) URL accessed on 2007-03-31.
7.  Rose DP, Adams PW (March 1972). Oral contraceptives and tryptophan metabolism: effects of oestrogen in low dose combined with a progestagen and of a low-dose progestagen (megestrol acetate) given alone.J. Clin. Pathol. 25 (3): 252–8.
8. Trussell, James (2007). "Contraceptive Efficacy" Hatcher, Robert A., et alContraceptive Technology, 19th rev., New York: Ardent Media
11. 23. 41. Moody Bitches by Julie Holland MD
12. Elizabeth Reynoso, M.D., an ob-gyn with Drs. Goodman and Partridge in Arizona.
19. Sweetening the Pill by Holly Grigg-Spall
22. Natural Fertility Management by Francesca Naish
28. Miller, G. et al. (2007) Ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by lap dancers: economic evidence for human estrus? Evol. Hum. Behav. 28, 375–381
30. FSRH Clinical Guidance: Problematic Bleeding with Hormonal Contraception - July 2015
31. Hume Kevin MD; ‘The Biology of the cervix, A summary of the advances from the work of Erik Odeblad’ Effects of contraceptive medication on the cervix’ ; Bulletin of the Ovulation Method Research and Reference Centre of Australia, Vo 25, No 2, Pages 17-24, 1998,. (internet)
32. Klaus H; ‘Natural family planning – Is it scientific? Is it effective?’see pages 14, 4; Newman Lecture Series 1;May 21; 2000. (internet if you google ‘natural family planning, Dr Hanna Klaus’).
33. ‘Gynaecology’ by Ten Teachers'; Ed. by Chamberlain G V P; 16th edition; 1995; ISBN 0 340 57315 5
34. Odeblad, E; ‘The discovery of different types of cervical mucus and the Billings Ovulation Method’ p 32, 25 ; Bulletin of the Ovulation Method Research and Reference Centre of Australia, Vol 21, No 3; 3-35; Sept 1994. internet; google ‘Erik Odeblad, cervical mucus’.)
35. Odeblad E; “Some notes on the cervical crypts”; Bulletin of the ovulation method Research and reference centre of Australia, 27 Alexandra Parade, North Fitzroy, Victoria 3068, Australia; vol 24, No 2, page 31,1997.
37. 19/3/14 Period Party podcast Myth Busters episode
44. [American Society of Health System Pharmacists; AHFS Drug Information 2010. Bethesda, MD. (2010), p. 3113]
46. Period Party - Birth Control podcast episode
60. Vagina A New Biography by Naomi Wolf

♦ Over to You ♦

Have you suffered from any of these effects and not known it could have been caused by your contraception? Have your feelings about romantic or sexual partners changed due to birth control? Please leave your comments and share this post to spread the information!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *