Are Your Birth Control Pills Causing Nausea?

In today’s world, there are many different options for birth control. People can use different facilities to prevent any unwanted pregnancies as well as do effective family planning. The most common form of birth control used around the globe is birth control pills.

Since their introduction in the 1960s, birth control pills have gained significant popularity. Over twenty-five percent of the women who look for effective birth control measures take a pill. According to the research, the pill prevents pregnancy successfully 99% of the times.

However, there are a few complications related to birth control pills. The number one is taking them properly. Many women are not aware of how factors like timing matter while on the pill. A woman might even end up getting pregnant even when she is on birth control but not following the instructions correctly.

Secondly, like all other drugs and medicines, birth control pills have side effects. A large number of women complain about the different problems they face because of it. Nausea is one of them.

Even though almost every other woman on birth control pills feels nauseated because of it, the matter is never taken seriously. Many choose to ignore it, taking it as one of the everyday health conditions. Others might feel disturbed because of it.

No matter how intense it is, nausea tends to make it difficult to concentrate at work and on different tasks. There are a number of ways to lower the intensity and get rid of nausea while continue to be on birth control pills.

How Do Birth Control Pills Work?

There are mainly two types of birth control pills – estrogen and progesterone and progesterone only pills. Both of these work the same way and stop the process of ovulation. Ovulation is the release of mature eggs from the ovaries for the fertilization with the sperm.

Secondly, these pills also affect the mucus that covers the cervix. The mucus is thickened and thus it is harder for a sperm to reach the eggs to fertilize it.

Thirdly, pregnancy can be prevented even if the egg is fertilized. The birth control pills alter the lining of the uterus. This makes it harder for the fertilized egg to implant itself and grow.

In order to make the birth control pills effective, doctors usually give specific instructions specifically on the timing of taking them. A woman typically has to take them daily to prevent getting pregnant.

Emergency contraceptive pills are another type of birth control pills. They are different from the aforementioned two types because of their high hormone content.

A woman should only go for emergency control pills if there is a birth control failure or protection is not used during sex. This is because a higher level of hormones is not very good for the body. Therefore, doctors only suggest it in emergency situations.

For example, breaking of the condom during sex is a birth control failure. If the intrauterine device (IUD) falls out during sex. In such a situation, emergency contraception can stop both ovulation and fertilization.

Why Do Birth Control Pills Cause Nausea?

Nausea is one of the common side effects of being on birth control pill. Why these pills cause the queasiness is a common question raised by women. The answer is in the content of the pill. Women who take estrogen-based birth control pills experience uneasiness and nausea more often.

It is actually the high estrogen content that ends up irritating the stomach which leads to nausea. Pills that have a high estrogen content are more like to cause intense nausea than the ones with a lower dose.

For example, emergency contraceptive pills contain a high estrogen content. They are also more likely to cause nausea.

In addition, women who start taking the pill experience stomach irritation and nausea more often. Such effects occur less frequently as the pill is continued and the body gets used to it.

Image by Healthy Women

How To Treat Nausea While Using Birth Control Pills?

There is actually no specific treatment for nausea that comes with using birth control pills. However, one may make specific changes that can lower its intensity and make the duration of it shorter. Try the following ways to soothe nausea from birth control pills:

  • Drink more cold liquids
  • Stick to light and healthier foods
  • Consume smaller meals instead of big ones
  • Take some rest after eating
  • Try having lemon ginger tea or any green tea
  • Calm down and take deep breaths

Nausea from the pill can be irritating but it usually goes after a few days.  The ways mentioned above can help in managing it and prevent intense periods of it. However, if nausea does not go away after a few days, it is better to see a doctor.

Persistent nausea is not a good sign. Often, it means that pill is not suitable for the woman and she might need to change it as per her doctor’s recommendation.

How To Prevent Nausea From Birth Control Pills?

Nausea is many times the result of taking a birth control pill on an empty stomach. Therefore, do not take the pill before a meal. The best time to take the pill is after having dinner or a snack at night before heading to bed.

Another way to prevent nausea from birth control pill is by taking an antacid medicine before. Make sure to keep a 30-40 minutes gap in between the both. This can reduce irritation in the stomach due to the estrogen content in the pill.

Taking an anti-nausea medicine before emergency contraceptives should be done only after consulting the doctor. A prescription of anti-nausea is often given if the contraceptive has made a woman sick before.

If the high estrogen pills are unsuitable, doctors often recommend taking progesterone-only pills. These are less likely to lead to nausea and vomiting.

Do not stop taking the birth control pills altogether to stop nausea. This can be especially risky and cause pregnancy especially if no other form of birth control is used as a backup.

Why Is Choosing the Right Pill Important?

Finding the most suitable birth control pill is fairly important especially if a woman wants to cut down on the related side effects. Pills come in different hormone content. What suits one woman may not suit another. A health professional can help in finding the right birth control pill.

Not only will this lower the chances of getting sick and nausea, but it may also decrease the risk for other effects. Other common side effects of the pill include:

  • Headaches
  • Soreness, enlargement, and tenderness in the breasts
  • Weight loss
  • Weight gain
  • Mood swings
  • Irregularity in periods and increased spotting
  • Reduced sex drive

Most of these effects are not that intense and start to decrease after the body gets used to the pill. One dangerous side effect of the pill is deep vein thrombosis. This is a risky condition which may even cause pulmonary embolism or even death if left untreated.

The risk of this condition is rare but this is just another reason why choosing the right birth control pills are important. Regular users who smoke and are over 35 should see their doctor regarding their pills from time to time.

While taking the pill, follow the instructions correctly. The pill should be taken daily and if a dose is missed, it should also be taken as soon as possible. One may also need to take 2 doses in one day to make up for the last missed dose.

It is better to keep reminders and take the pills at the same time every day as two doses together are likely to cause nausea and other effects.



Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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