5 common questions about the pill


Child and Parent

Adolescents often have many preconceived ideas about how contraceptive methods work and their side effects.

When posed with questions about which methods might work best for their own needs, whether to control irregular periods, menstrual cramps or for an actual contraceptive method, the following questions often arise in relation to oral contraceptive pills.

My friend told me she gained 10 lbs. on the pill; can that happen? Most teens do not have drastic weight gain on the pill. Some may gain a few pounds and some may lose a few pounds, but most women do not notice any change. If someone is gaining a lot of weight on the pill, it is most likely related to her diet (i.e. eating a lot of fast food) and not exercising.

If I take the pill, will I be able to have healthy children in the future? Taking the pill does not affect your fertility and it does not cause birth defects. If your periods were regular prior to taking the pill, they will return to normal if you stop the pill.

If I take the pill, I won’t get chlamydia, right? The pill does not protect you from getting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you’re sexually active, only condoms help prevent most sexually transmitted infections.

How long can I take the pill before I need to give my body a break? I heard it’s not safe to take it for a long time. It is safe to take the pill to regulate your period, control menstrual cramps or prevent pregnancy for years. There is no medical reason or time limit for when you should stop taking the pill.

Does taking the pill cause cancer? The pill does not cause cancer. In fact, it actually protects against ovarian and uterine cancer. It also does not cause an increased risk of breast cancer. Teens with a family history of breast cancer can still take the pill. Studies have shown that some women on the pill have a higher risk of cervical cancer, but cervical cancer is caused by HPV. The best way to prevent cervical cancer is to get the HPV vaccine and use condoms.

To learn more about adolescent medicine, click here and to learn more about pediatrics and adolescent gynecology, click here.