The Birth Control Side Effects Every Well-Informed Woman Should Know

Amanda Montell
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You've already decided you want to go on birth control (hooray for making grown-up life choices!). But now leaves the question: What kind of birth control should you choose? There are so many factors to consider: Do you want to use a barrier method (like a condom) or something longer-acting (like an IUD)? Do you want hormones or no hormones? Are you comfortable taking a pill every day, or do you want to be able to set it and forget it? To help you determine your ideal birth control method, we've already put together this helpful guide, which explains every type of BC on the market, what it is, how it works, who's it recommended for, and how effective it is. But there's one consideration we haven't gone into yet: Side effects.

We're dedicating a whole separate guide to birth control side effects because we know how much of a concern they are for many women. The good news, according to OB/GYN Jessica A. Shepherd, MD, a SweetSpot Labs expert and the director of minimally invasive gynecology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is that the side effects from most birth control methods for most women of child-bearing age are not life-ruining. Plus, because there are so many methods, you're almost guaranteed to find one that jives well with your body. "If there is a side effect that a woman has on one type of birth control, there are so many others to choose from," Shepherd says.

Luckily, we don't have to make that decision all on our own. "My advice to someone who is worried about taking birth control because of its side effects: Find a doctor you trust, and schedule an appointment strictly for birth control counseling," says Sara Twogood, MD, an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Keck Medicine of USC. Dedicating an appointment specifically to talking about birth control will ensure you have enough time to thoroughly discuss options, pros, and cons with your doc. You can also bring in some of your own research, as well as survey your friends for info. In the end, you should be able to pinpoint the right method for your body and lifestyle. Because ultimately, "worrying about an unplanned pregnancy can be more anxiety-provoking than worrying about some minor side effects of birth control," Twogood says.

Keep scrolling for your need-to-know guide to birth control side effects, according to three trusted gynos. (And, of course, be sure to consult your doctor for more personalised information!)

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