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Side effects suck

They're not fun, but they're usually not that noticeable either.

Side effects! Boo!

Two little words that totally freak people out. And for good reason. Nobody wants to wind up feeling crappy because they’re using a method that’s supposed to be good for them.

See through the hype

You deserve to know the real deal about side effects before you get on birth control, or any other medicine. But the hard part is seeing through the hype so you can weigh the pros and cons of each method and make an informed decision.

Positive side effects

We think it’s important to tell the whole story—the good, the bad, and everything in between. Here’s the thing, though. People tend to forget about the potential positive side effects of birth control, like clearer skin or shorter periods. (Or not having a baby before you’re ready, for that matter.) And when they hear the negative stuff, it sticks in their brain like a cheesy old song you can’t stop humming. That’s just human nature, and it happens to all of us.

Even aspirin sounds nasty

Drug companies list every single scary thing you could possibly experience with a medication. Even if it’s super rare. They have to. It’s the law. So before you run for the hills, consider this: The potential side effects of something as harmless as aspirin are pretty scary when you read them, too. Check it out.

If taking birth control is the right thing for you, we believe there’s a method that will make you feel good about using it. Find one here.

So...this whole "article" on 'side effects' only lists 3 [obvious] positive side effects? And talks about how people can get hyped up and freaked out over negative side effects...but doesn't list ANY? I'd like to think you all believe in me enough to let ME handle the news of side effects (you're acknowledging I can have sex by my own choice); that I can be trusted with the truth. And then it goes on to link us to a page about ASPIRIN? You say you want to give the good, bad and everything in between? So where is that information? How about the longer you're on birth control the harder it CAN be to get pregnant in the future, when you actually want kids. Headaches, depression, reduced libido and weight gain can - or cannot- happen as well. I was hoping to gain more information from this site. The summary of this: Side Effects: yeah, there are some, but hey, people overreact about it, just like aspirin. The End.

2011-11-15 06:11:26 UTC


I don't like that negative side-effects of hormonal birth control are so downplayed. I have had a horrible time with birth control - depression, anxiety, loss of libido from the Pill has really done some damage in my life.  Does everyone experience these side effects? No. But that doesn't mean they don't exist and are not important. If we don't shine a light on what is wrong with the contraceptives we have available, there is no push to come up with new ones.

2011-11-15 21:14:13 UTC


Kat, thanks for your note, too.  You are right that information is power, and any decision about using birth control is ultimately up to you.  There is lots of information about side effects on this site—since the side effects of various methods are distinct, that info is on the pages about each method (e.g., the pill:  Finally, you’re right that getting pregnant becomes more difficult as women get older, but that’s definitely not because of a reversible birth control method (  It has to do with age and their own personal medical history.

2011-11-19 20:05:41 UTC

Dr. Grace Shih

Peg, thanks for your comment.  You are right—different women have different experiences with birth control and side effects.  I hope you’ve had luck finding a method that doesn’t have those negative side effects for you.  And I couldn’t agree more: more birth control options would be good for everyone!

2011-11-19 20:14:14 UTC

Dr. Grace Shih

Look, I love the idea of this website -- accurate, accessible, sex-positive birth control advice.  But your information just isn't complete enough yet to be truly useful to women.  Yes, I'm another person who's going to harp on your lack of information about side effects!  My sister and I both suffered crippling depression when we tried the Pill back in college, and we both struggled with it for months before we figured out what the problem was.  If the potential mood-altering side effects of the Pill were more widely reported, we might both have solved our problem a lot sooner!  I've looked at the individual entry for the Pill and that information is not there.  Please don't talk down to women or try to sweep this stuff under the rug.  Birth control is way too important for that.

2012-01-03 16:39:41 UTC


I've tried the ring, the pill (multiple brands), and my libido is horribly low. I tried to get the IUD but my doctor could not get it in because me cervix was too shut (that was traumatic). I want something better that helps my be excited for love! Not 'hope it's over soon'..

2013-04-23 03:50:18 UTC


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