Calls for a ‘Contraceptive Revolution’ as 77% of women experience side effects | British News


More research needs to be done on birth control side effects, says Davina McCall (Image: Getty)

More research is needed into the side effects of birth control pills, as more than three-quarters of women report side effects, says a new documentary.

A survey of 4,000 women, conducted by Davina McCall for the documentary Pill Revolution, found that 77% experienced side effects such as headaches, depression, and reduced mood and sex drive.

A third of these women stopped taking birth control pills because of the side effects.

The documentary calls for a “revolution in birth control” as there is a “huge black hole” in research into the side effects of the pill, reports The Telegraph.

Between 2017 and 2020, there were 20 to 25 industry-funded clinical trials, most of which focused on incremental reviews of existing hormone products.

By comparison, in 2019 there were about 3,100 trials on cancer drugs, 600 on cardiovascular drugs, and 140 on eye disease treatments, according to, a global database.

It is estimated that pharmaceutical companies spend only 2% of their sales on contraceptive research and development, compared to around 20% on new products.

Davina, who has previously campaigned for more support for women going through menopause, even had an IUD inserted on camera to demystify the process.

In the picture:

Davina McCall calls for a ‘contraceptive revolution’ (Image: Tom Barnes/Channel 4)

Half of those surveyed said they were concerned about the potential pain of fitting.

She said: “Unfortunately, there is so little research on women’s health and that means we’re looking for science-based evidence on contraception.”

“It makes me angry because [women] deserve better. Better Research. better knowledge. Better quality of care. More funding.

“And why would we compromise our quality of life to prevent pregnancy? That’s a conversation we need to have.

“I’m not saying that the IUS is the holy grail and isn’t for everyone.”

“But for me, ten minutes of discomfort is a small price to pay for five years without a period and the convenience of not having to think about taking something every day.”

During the documentary, Health Secretary Maria Caulfield responded to criticism that pressure could be put on scientists and companies to do more research on contraceptive pills.

She said the Government has invested £25million in centers to provide better access to treatment for menstrual cramps, contraception, pelvic pain and menopausal symptoms.

Ms Caulfield added: “We need to give medical professionals that time and space so it’s not a five-minute consultation.”

“This is exactly why we want the women’s health centers to be established so that we have health professionals with experience in women’s health and that it’s more than a box of birth control pills.”

“It’s about looking at this woman as a whole.”

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Justin Scaccy

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