Millions of women take the birth control pill everyday for a variety of reasons and do not realize some of its side effects. Sure, the common ones are weight gain and low libido but what about cardiovascular risks? Practitioners and researchers have known for years that blood clots are a very serious potential for pill users but lately they have narrowed it down to certain hormone mixtures.
A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in your leg (typically your calf area) and can be painful or feel like a dull ache and cause skin warmth and redness. You may notice the affected leg is swollen and tender to touch. A DVT is serious because the clot can break loose and travel up into your lungs causing a pulmonary embolism (blockage) which is life threatening.
In an updated study, researchers found that women who take the birth control pill had a 5-fold increase risk in developing a blood clot compared to non-users. More importantly, they looked at some of the newer pills on the market and found their risk alarming.
Looking at the progestin options in a pill, Levonorgestrel had a 4-fold increased risk, Gestodene a 5.6 increased risk, Drospirenone a 6.3 increased risk, Cyproterone a 6.8 increased risk, and Desogestrel was the highest at 7.3 increased risk.
Additionally, the higher the estrogen content in a pill, the higher the risk of blood clots.
Commonly, drospirenone is in Yaz and Yazmin, while Cyproterone is in Estelle 35. Desogestrel is in Mircette.
There are many generics on the market now and I would encourage you to read the insert that comes with your pill pack in order to determine exactly what mixture you are swallowing each day.
Does this mean stop your birth control pill? Not necessarily. If you are not using the pill for pregnancy protection, then you may want to explore other options and get to the root of your hormonal imbalance. If you have a strong family history of cardiovascular disease, if you, yourself, have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and/or high blood sugar then the pill may not be the best option for you.