How to Know If You Need to Switch Birth Control Pills

Hormonal pills in female  hands isolated on white
A woman is holding a packet of birth control pills. (Image: belchonock/iStock/Getty Images)

Knowing when to switch birth control pills can be fairly obvious for some women. Other women may not realize the effect her pills are having on her and continue taking them. Annual appointments with a health-care professional are important in helping a woman identify potential reasons to change birth control pills. With so many options available, a woman shouldn't suffer through unwanted effects triggered by her birth control pill brand. A visit with a health-care provider can also reveal changes in the birth control pills currently available to a woman, according to Fitness Magazine.

Step 1

Make an appointment with a health-care professional to discuss birth control options and complete an annual exam if it is time.

Step 2

Change pills when the side effects are persistent or bothersome. Many pills can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, breakthrough bleeding, missed periods, breast tenderness, depression and anxiety, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Even though these effects are relatively mild, other options may exist that have a diminished risk of causing such discomfort. A low-dose birth control pill may benefit a woman who has too many birth control side effects.

Step 3

Evaluate any discomfort that has been occurring that may not seem to be related to birth control. Fitness Magazine suggests that a reduction in libido, also called sex drive, can be attributed to some birth control pills due to the hormones they contain.

Step 4

Consider new birth control options. It may be time to switch birth control pills if the current method has been used for several years. Even if it hasn't been used for long, the pharmaceutical industry changes quickly. A health-care professional or the Internet can outline some of the most recent additions to oral contraceptives. This can include pills that improve premenstrual dysmorphic disorder symptoms, have fewer risks of minor side effects or that reduce a woman's annual periods from 12 to four.

Step 5

Explore other options, including non-pill methods of birth control. The pill is effective and convenient, but other options exist that don't require a woman do do anything on a daily basis.

Warning

Use a back-up birth control method, such as a condom, when switching birth control pills.

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