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The Pill

Risks and Side Effects

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Updated May 25, 2010

Survey Finding: Forty-three percent of survey respondents believe that the birth control pill can be an effective acne treatment.

Fact: Not all birth control pills are clinically proven to treat acne. There is only one Pill approved by the Food and Drug Administration and clinically proven to help reduce moderate acne and maintain clearer skin. In clinical studies, nearly nine out of 10 women who took Ortho Tri-cyclen showed significant improvements in their skin.

Survey Finding: Twenty-one percent of women surveyed believe the Pill can cause infertility.

Fact: There is no clinical evidence that the Pill affects fertility. When a woman is ready to become pregnant, she should consult her healthcare professional and stop taking her birth control pills. Most women experience a rapid return to fertility.

Risks and Side Effects of Birth Control Pills

The Pill is not for everyone. Although most side effects of oral contraceptives are not serious, and occur infrequently, there are some side effects which can be life threatening. The most serious risks associated with pill use include blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks. These risks are increased if you smoke cigarettes. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects, especially in women over 35. It is strongly advised that women who use oral contraceptive not smoke.

Do birth control pills increase your risk of developing breast cancer? While some studies have reported an increase in the risk of developing breast cancer, the majority of studies have found no overall increase in this risk. If you are concerned by a possible increased risk of breast cancer, talk to your clinician about your personal risk and how it relates to your use of oral contraceptives.

Certain women should never use the Pill, including women who have blood clots, certain cancers, a history of heart attack or stroke, as well as those who are or may be pregnant.

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