Negative Effects of the Pill

Few women realize that the negative effects of the Pill include physical health problems such as cancer, mental problems such as depression, social and environmental problems, and even early abortion.


1. The Pill causes blindness, depression, stroke, and more.

Here are just some of the negative effects of the Pill and other oral contraceptives listed on their physician information pamphlets:

Anaphylaxis and anaphylactoid reactions; sudden total or partial blindness; deep vein thrombosis; heart attacks; liver, cervical, and breast cancers; stroke; ectopic pregnancies; pulmonary embolisms; hypertension (high blood pressure); dizziness, vertigo, and fainting; abdominal discomfort, bloating, and pain; gall bladder problems, including gallstones; inflammation of the pancreas; nausea and vomiting; fluid accumulation; phlebitis (clots in the veins); insulin sensitivity; elevated potassium levels; migraine or severe headaches; depression and mood swings; breast pain and swelling; a number of changes in menstruation patterns, including PMS and dysmenorrhea; acne and rashes; hair loss; fatigue; and significant weight gain.1


2. The Pill greatly increases the risk of deep vein blood clots.

One of the most serious negative effects of the Pill is the increased risk of deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots that can potentially become fatal. According to the Guardian (March 6, 2009), Britain’s most prominent left-wing newspaper, some versions of the Pill increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis by five times, as reported by the British Medical Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.


3The Pill causes long-term hormone regulation problems.

In the January 2006 issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers reported that abnormally low amounts of unbound testosterone caused by Pill use persist after women cease using it. Women’s bodies use testosterone, as men’s do, to regulate sexual function, though in far lower amounts. Said report author Dr. Irwin Goldstein, “This work is the culmination of 7 years of observational research in which we noted in our practice many women with sexual dysfunction who had used the oral contraceptive but whose sexual and hormonal problems persisted despite stopping the birth control pill.”2


negative effects of the pill include breast cancer4. The Pill increases several cancer risks significantly.

The Pill especially increases the risk of breast cancer in women of childbearing age.

When taking hormonal contraceptives, “teenagers are especially vulnerable to breast cancer risk because their breasts are growing,” reports the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute. The Institute also insists, that although the Pill lowers the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers, “according to the American Cancer Society, out of [a random selection of] 100 women with cancer, 31 have breast cancer, 6 have endometrial cancer and only 3 have ovarian cancer, so it is not a good ‘trade-off’ in risk.” The World Health Organization (WHO) discussed the Pill–breast cancer link in a 2005 report, as did the New England Journal of Medicine in January 2006.The WHO’s panel of scientists concluded that the Pill indeed raised the risks of breast, cervical, and liver cancer, classifying in as a carcinogen.3


5. The Pill causes a loss in overall “well-being.”

A Kinsey Institute study found that 40 percent of women who started the Pill felt a drop in “well-being,” and 40 percent also felt a loss of sexual desire. That means a significant number of women feel the negative effects of the Pill affect them emotionally.

Elle, the world’s best-selling women’s fashion magazine, reported, “Elizabeth Lee Vliet, MD, a women’s health specialist and the author of It’s My Ovaries, Stupid!, thinks that OCs’ [oral contraceptives’] negative impact on moods—she especially blames high-progesterone formulations—might even bring about the need for antidepressants: The Pill screws up a woman’s mood and libido, and then she ends up on Prozac.”5


6. The Pill can help cause a woman to marry the wrong man.

A study published in the August 2008 edition of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B found that when women smelled the T-shirts worn by men, they were attracted to more genetically dissimilar men before going on the Pill. After going on it, they were attracted to men genetically similar to themselves.

This means that a woman on the Pill before marriage who later stopped taking it in order to have children could cease being attracted to her husband; as evolutionary psychologist Craig Roberts, one of the researchers, explains, “Not only could [genetic] similarity in couples lead to fertility problems but it could ultimately lead to the breakdown of relationships when women stop using the contraceptive pill, as odor perception plays a significant role in maintaining attraction to partners.” So, the negative effects of the Pill are social, not just physical.

Marriages between genetically similar people are also more likely to produce children with genetic problems.


7. The Pill poisons the environment.

Much of the female hormone in the Pill is excreted via urine and ends up in the world’s rivers and lakes. Scientists are finding ever-greater numbers of “intersex” animals in aquatic environments that could lead to a collapse in fish and other populations, followed by a collapse in the populations of animals dependent on them. The Washington Post reported on April 22, 2009, “More than 80% of the male small mouth bass in the Potomac River are growing eggs.” The first intersex bass were discovered only in 2003, making the growth of this phenomenon extraordinarily rapid. In certain places, said the Post, “100% of the male fish had some female characteristics.”

In the February 8, 2008 Post, scientists said the cause “is probably some pollutant created by humans—perhaps a farm chemical, or treated sewage, which can contain human hormones or residue from birth-control pills.” The later Post article reported that scientists think the problem is caused by a mixture of hormone and hormone-mimicking pollutants, and have found negative effects on female fish as well. Iain Murray, author of The Really Inconvenient Truths, wrote on National Review Online (April 22, 2008), “By any standard typically used by environmentalists, the pill is a pollutant. It does the same thing, just worse, as other chemicals they call pollution.”


8. The Pill can cause early abortion.

Though the Pill appears to act the great majority of the time in preventing conception by suppressing ovulation and inhibiting sperm transport through the woman’s body, at other times it causes abortion by preventing or disrupting the implantation of an already-conceived child. In some women, the Pill suppresses ovulation completely. When the Pill fails, conception may follow and a subsequent abortion of unborn children may be pursued.



The negative effects of the Pill range from headaches and hair loss to fatal diseases such as cancer and deep-vein thrombosis, even to social problems, environmental problems, and abortion.

Contraception harms women; see HLI’s article on how contraception encourages the disrespect of women.


1. Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, “Highlights of Prescribing Information: Yasmin,” April 2012.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, “Micronor®” Oral Contraceptive Tablets, March 2012.

2. Panzer, Wise, Goldstein, et al., “Impact of Oral Contraceptives on Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin and Androgen Levels: A Retrospective Study in Women with Sexual Dysfunction,” Journal of Sexual Medicine 3 (2006): 104-113.

3. World Health Organization, “Carcinogenicity of Combined Hormonal Contraceptives and Combined Menopausal Treatment,” September 2005.

4. James D. Yager and Nancy E. Davidson, “Estrogen Carcinogenesis in Breast Cancer,” New England Journal of Medicine 354 (2006): 270-282, accessed November 25, 2014, doi: 10.1056/NEJMra050776.

5. Rachael Combe, “Sexual Chemistry,” Elle, September 2005.