How many of the myths about the contraceptive pill are actually true?

Close up hand contraceptive pill on with colorful pills strips. Contraception reduces childbirth and pregnant concept.
How many of the myths about the pill are actually true? (Picture: Getty)

Weight gain, mood swings, health complications. There is a long list of concerns around the contraceptive pill.

But how many of those are actually true?

In the latest episode of Yahoo UK’s podcast Britain Is a Nation Of..., Dr Patricia McNair looks at some of the myths around hormonal contraception and whether they’re actually true.

Is the pill guaranteed to protect me from pregnancy?

No, says McNair, though there is a very low level of pregnancy for people who take the pill.

“I think there is a myth that it’s totally guaranteed to avoid pregnancy.

“There is a very low level of pregnancy, something like 99-point-something, but occasionally it can occur.

“It’s difficult to tease out of that whether people are forgetting to take the pill.”

Will the pill cause mood swings?

There’s an art to getting the right pill for the right person, says McNair.

“Some people have mood problems, some people find that their mood is better on it, more even, so if they used to get terrible PMT it can even out things so I think if you look at the statistics it’s not as bad as people think.

Listen to the full episode of Britain is a Nation of... below

Will I put on weight?

“Some people find that they put on weight”, says McNair. “But is that just the contentment of their lifestyle? They’re more in a solid relationship or something.”

Either way, even if people do put on weight, it doesn’t tend to be much, she adds.

What about other side effects?

Yes, there are concerns about side effects like blood clots and deep vein thrombosis, says McNair, though again it is hard to know how common these are.

“It’s generally fairly safe,” she adds, “but there are always risks of side effects.”

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