A quarter of sexually active women "take a break" from the contraceptive pill because of unwelcome side effects or fears for their future health, a study has shown.
Research on 277 women in Ireland showed 22% stopped taking the pill because they developed mood swings, while 20% blamed the contraceptive for weight gain, 12% said it made them feel depressed and 10% complained of migraines.
Worries about long-term effects stopped about 30% of women from taking the pill, and altogether more than 60% of respondents had spent some time avoiding the medication.
Waterford-based GP, Dr Eithne Brenner said: "Many women are wary about the effect the contraceptive pill has on their body."
The study was commissioned in connection with Qlaira, a new contraceptive pill distributed in Ireland by Bayer Schering. It claims to adapt to a woman's menstrual cycle by delivering different levels of the hormones oestrogen and progestion at different times of the month.
It is estimated that as many as 50% of pregnancies are unplanned in Ireland, despite the widespread availability of different contraceptive methods.
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