I have used them for over 20 years with no side effects. According to my doctor I can continue using them until I am 50. Of course as you said, everyone is different and you need to see a doctor annually (for other things as well), but to monitor your health. A big no-no for using birth control pills is for people with high blood pressure and smokers. If you are a heathy woman, then for the most part, there is little side effects.