Some 500 million women around the world have used the birth control pill at some point in their lives, including four out of five sexually active women in the US and seven out of 10 of all women in the UK. Since their introduction in 1950, oral contraceptives have prevented billions of unwanted pregnancies around the world. They’ve also ushered in a social and economic revolution.
But for some women, the pill has had a downside: though many users report no side effects from the pill, others have the opposite experience. Recognised potential side effects include everything from depression to blood clots like deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Increasing attention about these risks may be part of the reason why, in the UK, the number of women taking hormonal birth control has been declining in recent years, with women turning to non-hormonal or long-acting reversible contraceptives instead.
Eight women around the globe – from the US to Nepal, Venezuela to Tanzania – tell us about how the birth control pill was for them… and why they decided to go off it. Watch the video, above, to hear what they have to say.
This story is part of the Health Gap, a special series about how men and women experience the medical system – and their own health – in starkly different ways.
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