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More on the Birth Control Pill – Q & A

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Reproductive System related image Photo: Getty Images

Many would agree that birth control pills are a convenience. They have allowed many to plan their lives responsibly. This article will be a follow-up to another one I wrote about birth control pills, answering additional questions that are common in regards to the pill and its possible effect on our bodies.

Can your cholesterol levels be altered by taking birth control pills?

Yes. How much it is affected will depend on the type of pill being used and the concentration of estrogen and progestin it contains. Estrogen seems to increase good cholesterol while decreasing bad cholesterol. Progestin has the adverse affect. However, my reference from the Mayo Clinic stated that the overall effect is not very significant.

Do birth control pills affect blood pressure?

Yes. Blood pressure actually may increase with the use of birth control pills. This risk is increased with age and duration of usage. What can be done?

It is wise to have your blood pressure checked regularly. However, if you already have blood pressure problems, it is recommended that you use an alternative form of birth control. But if you do decide to use birth control pills, it is advisable to have your pressure checked regularly.

Is there a risk with smoking, being over 35 and taking birth control pills?

The Mayo Clinic clearly stated that birth control pills are not recommended for women over 35 who smoke due to the high risk of cardiovascular disease. Try to quit before you resume or begin taking any type of birth control pill.

Do antibiotics lessen the effectiveness of birth control pills?

Evidence is not conclusive on all counts of this issue. There is only one known antibiotic that definitely lowers the effectiveness of the birth control pill – and that’s rifampin. This antibiotic is used if you’re diagnosed with tuberculosis. But as for antibiotics in general, in the small amount of studies done, it has been found that very few women were affected. However, it is advised that if you are taking a lower dose of estrogen birth control pill that you use a backup contraception as a barrier method.

Resource: Mayo Clinic

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.