Gen Z Hates Birth Control. Or Do They?

Talking to young women about hormonal contraception reveals more nuanced takes than TikTok would make you think.
collage of methods of birth control for GEN Z
Illustration Hunter French

By now, everyone has seen those Tiktoks arguing that taking birth control causes low sex drive, drastic weight gain, and mood swings. Being constantly inundated by content like that is probably why, in one poll last year, over half of the 4,000 women surveyed said they worried about the potential impacts of hormonal contraception on their mental and physical health.

I’ve been on birth control since I was 14. I was prescribed the mini pill by a doctor because I had excruciating period cramps, and I was told that it was a good way to reduce the pain. But hearing some of these stories online almost influenced me to get rid of the pill completely. As women seem to be ditching hormonal methods of birth control now more than ever before, I wondered what other women were going through—particularly people who weren’t looking for clout by pushing any particular agenda.


As it turns out, most of the women I spoke to had a more positive outlook on birth control than social media (or the regular media) made it seem. Here’s what they had to say.

‘TikTok has pushed our generation in the wrong way about birth control as more negatives are spoken about than positives.’

When I was 15, my mum wanted me to go on birth control after she found out I was having sex. I went to see a doctor and discussed different options and was put on the pill. I never experienced any drastic side effects. I only noticed that my boobs got slightly bigger. I put on some weight, but that was all. 

I then went on the implant at 16 and had that for three years. At first, I didn’t feel like myself. I was agitated and had mood swings. I was seeing a guy at the time, and he said I was crazy and angry – I had a feeling it was the implant causing this. I also experienced spotting that would go on for months at a time. 

Currently, I’m on the Mirena IUD, and I’ve been on it for two years now. I’d say it’s been the best form of contraception so far, and I’ve had no issues. I would say that it does affect my sex life a little bit if the sex is too hard or deep – I get cramps, and because of this, I’ve considered getting rid of it.

I think TikTok has pushed our generation in the wrong way about birth control, as more negatives are spoken about than positives. So many women are scared because they’ve been influenced by other people’s experiences, but you won’t really know until you try it yourself – everybody is different.


The media has also pushed this narrative that birth control is bad. There’s been a surge of online content saying things like ‘birth control can stop you from being attracted to your partner’ or ‘birth control can make you gain weight and can affect your mood’. I think narratives like that can really drive people away. 

—Stasia, 21, Newcastle

‘My experience whilst on the pill was horrible. After two weeks, I went back to using condoms.’

Two years ago, I was on the combined pill Rigevidon. I was seeing a guy, and during sex, the condom slipped off, and we couldn’t find it. After literally looking everywhere, I realised that it was stuck inside of me. I was traumatised, and I didn’t want to get pregnant while I was at university. I decided to get on the pill after speaking to some friends.

When I spoke to the doctor, she asked a few questions about my medical history and recommended Rivegedion as I had a few concerns about gaining weight on the pill. The doctor reassured me that weight gain on the pill was a myth and not scientifically proven.

My experience whilst on the pill was horrible. After two weeks, I went back to using condoms. It gave me so many different emotions in my short time on it. I overacted a lot. It made me overthink. I was inconsiderate and rude about many things. 


I see videos on TikTok where a lot of women can relate to the symptoms that I experienced; however, this doesn’t discourage me from trying a different pill or form of contraception in the future. If I see a video about a brand of pill causing significant impacts to many people, I think that information is valid and vital. However, I believe everyone is not the same, and people will have different reactions. 

—Nova, 22, Brighton

‘Usually, when I come across anti-hormone content, I skip it, to be honest.’

I use the combined pill Rigevidon. It’s the only contraceptive that I have used. I thought it would be a good way to regulate my period and reduce acne, and I started using it a year ago with no issues or side effects so far.

Before getting on birth control, I thoroughly researched different options to find out what would work best for me. During the discussion with the health professional, I was offered all the options and asked several questions. I decided to go with the combined pill as it felt more convenient and reliable. It was the best option for me. 

I have never been influenced by any anti-hormone content. I don’t think too much about it. Usually, when I come across it, I skip it to be honest.

The TikTok movement highlights possible side effects and impacts on mental health associated with birth control. However, I don’t think these views expressed on social media represent the opinions of all young people, as experiences on birth control can be very different. 


For young people to have a better understanding of birth control and its risks, they should consider a range of sources, consult healthcare professionals, and make decisions based on their unique health needs. I think it’s a complex issue, and there's no one-size-fits-all answer.

—Melissa, 22, London

‘I’ve been lucky in the sense that I’ve never experienced any bad side effects.’

I started the pill when I was 18, and it was my first form of hormonal birth control. I’ve pretty much taken it nonstop. I do wish I’d been recommended it sooner because I noticed a real difference in my period pain, and now it’s very rare for me to have to stay in bed because of my cramps.

I spoke to my older sister, and she recommended the pill. Most people I knew were on it, and it seemed to be the most convenient and efficient form of birth control. I also find IUDS scary, so a little pill works for me.

I’ve been on two different brands of pills, and both have worked for me despite my periods being irregular at times. Last year when I made the switch, I bled for nine days, and then my next period was only three days, but I was told that it was nothing to worry about, and I felt a bit silly for badgering my NHS practice who literally could not give two shits about it.

I think putting extra hormones in your body is going to have an impact, no matter if you feel the changes. I’ve been lucky in the sense that I’ve never experienced any bad side effects, but I will say I’m very scared of how my body would react if I went off the pill. However, my feelings towards birth control have been impacted through the experiences of people I know. A girl I went to school with had to be hospitalised because of her pill. A friend of a friend nearly bled out because of a hormonal IUD that migrated and tore through her uterine wall. 


I don’t think Gen Z are necessarily anti-hormonal birth control—at least, I’m not. The pill, for me, has been a great, affordable way to protect myself from unwanted pregnancy, and it can help with other hormonal issues. But just because it can help doesn’t take away the very real unwanted side effects it can have, and it’s the duty of health professionals to inform their patients of the potential risks and give them the safest and best treatment available. 

—Lucy, 23, London

‘I now only take contraception when I’m sexually active.’

I started the pill when I was 14. I wasn't taking it correctly, as I would miss a day or wouldn’t take it at the right time of the day. 

I then decided to try the injection as my college was administering it for free. I used the injection three times and then stopped because I realised my skin was breaking out. It gave me acne again, so I went back to the pill.

The pill wasn’t too bad. It helped with my skin, but I found it difficult because I had poor time management with pills, and I would end up skipping days. 

The injection made me miss my periods completely. I only needed to go back after eight weeks to get it done again, so it was more manageable, but it made me break out heavily, even when I stopped taking it.

I've been somewhat influenced by the content I’ve seen on TikTok, which is why I'm not taking the pill now, as I’m worried about the future repercussions it may have when I want to get pregnant. I’ve learnt about this information online and now only take contraception when I’m sexually active.

—Claudia, 22, Essex