At A Glance: The Combined Pill
- When taken correctly, the pill is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. This means that fewer than 1 in 100 who use the combined pill as contraception will get pregnant in 1 year.
- The standard way to take the pill is to take 1 every day for 21 days, then have a break for 7 days, and during this week you have a bleed like a period. You start taking the pill again after 7 days.
- You may be able to take some types of pill with no or shorter breaks , which may reduce some side effects. Speak to a doctor or nurse about your options.
- You need to take the pill at around the same time every day. You could get pregnant if you do not do this, or if you miss a pill, or vomit or have severe diarrhoea.
- Some medicines may make the pill less effective. Check with your doctor if you’re taking any other tablets.
- If you have heavy periods or painful periods, PMS or endometriosis the combined pill may help.
- Minor side effects include mood swings, nausea, breast tenderness and headaches these usually settle down in a few months.
- There is no evidence that the pill will make you gain weight.
- There’s a very low risk of serious side effects, such as blood clots and cervical cancer.
- The combined pill is not suitable if you are over 35 and smoke, or if you have certain medical conditions.
- The pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections , so use a condom as well.
- There may be a link between the pill and depression but evidence is mixed and further research is needed.
Which Birth Control Method Has The Lowest Risk Of Blood Clot Formation
Thankfully, there are some types of birth control that do not increase the risk of developing blood clots. While the minipill is a great option for those who are able to take a pill every day at the same time, this may not be feasible for everyone. If that is the case, a doctor might recommend the IUD. Not only is this method safe for individuals who are at risk of developing blood clots, but the IUD itself is also long-lasting and easy to remove.
In the event that the person with a uterus cannot take hormonal birth control, but still wants to be protected from pregnancy, they can use a barrier contraceptive method such as condoms, diaphragms, and cervical caps during heterosexual sex. These will also prevent the spread of Sexually Transmitted Infections between partners even individuals who do take hormonal birth control should use a barrier for this purpose. Emergency contraceptives do not contain estrogen and are also safe to use.
The Blood Clot That Could Have Killed Me
My arm was painful, red, and swollen. What I didnt know was it was a deadly symptom, unknowingly caused by my birth control.
Last summer I woke up with an ache in my right bicep and shoulder. I thought nothing of it. Id been out running, canoeing, and working on a major gardening project the weekend before. Of course I was going to be sore.
Muscle cramping, a rash, overexertion, and a slight sunburn are just symptoms of loving your summer, right?
Well, they can also be symptoms of deep vein thrombosis , a condition that certain types of hormonal birth control increase the risk of. Id read warnings about blood clot risks associated with birth control pills and heard them rattled off on countless commercials. But I had no idea my birth control pills and my love for outdoor exercises could brew up a perfect storm.
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Should We Be Comparing These Blood Clot Risks
It’s difficult to directly compare the blood clots linked to the J& J vaccine and those linked to oral contraceptive use, but it can still be done in a responsible wayand may even be helpful.
” need to be contextualized,” infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Health. “Yes, there are different types of blood clots, but this comparison helps the public understand that every medication has some risk,” said Dr. Adalja, adding that these comparisons have value in helping people address the risks they find acceptable on a daily basis.
But sometimes, those quick, unexplained comparisons can go too far. “We can misuse this comparison,” said Dr. Adalja, noting again that it’s difficult to directly analyze the risk of blood clots linked to the J& J vaccine against those linked to birth control, since again, they are not the same type of clot nor do they have the same treatment options.
Dr. Wider agreed that the direct comparisons may not be entirely helpful, adding that there are also known risk factors for blood clots with birth control that aren’t recognized as risk factors for the vaccine. “Women who smoke, have obesity, and lead a sedentary lifestyle are at increased risk of a blood clot when they are on birth control,” Dr. Wider. “At this point, these are not underlying risk factors for the very rare clot that occurred post-Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”
How Does Birth Control Impact The Formation Of Blood Clots
In some cases, taking hormonal birth control may increase an individuals risk of developing blood clots. The hormones in the combination pill, patch, and ring can affect blood clotting factors. With that being said, the overall risk of getting blood clots when taking hormonal birth control is very small.
People with uteri who have family or personal history of blood clots, are over age 35, or smoke have a much higher risk of developing blood clots while taking hormonal birth control. Furthermore, these individuals should opt for a type of contraception that does not contain estrogen, such as the IUD or progestin-only pill.
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Can Getting Off The Pill And Learning Fertility Awareness Help Prevent Knee Injuries In The First Place
The young athletes who most commonly undergo these surgeries deserve to understand the increased risks they incur by taking birth control. In fact, this Arthroscopy study directly contradicts the consensus reached in a 2022 study published in JAMA Network Open, which found no adverse outcomes associated with the use of hormonal contraceptives.
Unfortunately, recommendations by many prominent health organizations continue to downplay the significant blood clot risks that accompany hormonal birth control use. As the title of an article on the Cleveland Clinics website puts it, Yes, your birth control could make you more likely to have a blood clot. For most young women, its not necessarily a reason to stop taking the pill. The National Womens Health Network likewise characterizes the increased risk as being only slightly higher.
But the truth is, young women have a lot to benefit from getting off the Pill for good, even beyond lowering their risks for blood clots. In fact, recent studies suggest that Fertility Awareness Methods can help prevent sports injuries from occurring at all.
What Increases The Risk Of Blood Clots
Some of the risk factors for blood clots are:
- a previous blood clot
- being immobilised
- bad varicose veins.
Your risk of having a blood clot can also be temporarily increased, for example by a long flight, childbirth, being immobilised by injury or illness, or by having surgery. Women who have had a previous blood clot should not take a combined oral contraceptive. You should tell your doctor if any of these risk factors apply to you.
The Authors Concluding Suggestions Wont Solve The Problem
Given these findings, the study authors suggest that those taking oral contraceptives should be counseled regarding their increased risk for blood clots. They also suggested that patients would benefit from stopping their birth control use one month prior to surgery, or that they should consider postoperative anticoagulants if their risk factors remained.
Though the authors successfully quantify the risks involved in undergoing orthopedic surgery while on oral birth control, their suggestions to offset that risk have issues of their own. First, ACL reconstruction is typically scheduled between three and six weeks after the injury occurs, meaning that many women would not have sufficient time to rid their bodies of the artificial hormones effects. Second, additional evidence is needed to prove that stopping birth control use one month prior to surgery would lower the risk of clotting.
Finally, the postoperative anticoagulants the authors recommend in order to prevent blood clots also come with significant risks. Due to their potential for harm, oral anticoagulants have been classified as high alert medications by the Institute of Safe Medication Practices . A 2014 study suggested that two of the most commonly used blood thinners, warfarin and low-molecular weight heparin , known as Lovenox, are associated with an increased risk of post-surgery bleeding or infection .
Blood Clot Signs You Shouldnt Ignore
In general, one of the biggest signs of a blood clot is pain. Usually the pain would be behind your knee or in the back of your calf, says Dr. Brant. Redness or swelling are also common. Sometimes, you can even develop a ropey-like firmness in the back of your leg. Its the actual vein, and you can feel it.
Blood clots that happen while people are using birth control vary in size and severity. These can develop in your artery or, more commonly, in a vein. When a clot develops in your vein, its called deep vein thrombosis and blocks your normal circulation.
Sometimes, the clot stays in place, while other times, it might break off and travel to another part of your body.
This can be serious. For example, if part of the clot travels to your lungs, it could stop blood flow there and cause a more severe complication called pulmonary embolism.Signs of a pulmonary embolism specifically include shortness of breath, coughing or chest pain.
In general, if you dont quite feel right especially if youve just started taking hormonal birth control call your doctor. If youre having symptoms such as pain, warmth, redness or swelling or if the symptom is affecting a lower extremity thats a reason to check in, warns Dr. Brant.
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Female Athletes Surgery And Blood Clots: What The Study Found
The authors of the 2021 Arthroscopy study merely took the well-documented connection between birth control and blood clots a step further. Many of the researchers who took part in the study are orthopedic surgeons who were concerned to witness serious complications following these low-risk knee procedures in young athletes. Realizing that oral birth control use was common among many of these patients, they decided to investigate. As co-author Dr. Harris Slone, an orthopedic surgeon in South Carolina, told MedPage Today, We know that the estrogen and progesterone in combination oral contraception pills increase the risk of clots. And we know that clots are problematic following orthopedic surgery, especially surgery around the pelvis, hip, and knee. But there has been little research to date quantifying the risk of oral contraception plus orthopedic surgery.
So, using a large healthcare database, the team identified all women aged 16 to 40 who had undergone knee arthroscopy or ACL reconstruction between 2010 and 2015 and tracked two serious types of blood clots occurring within 90 days of surgery: deep vein thrombosis , a blood clot in a major blood vessel, and pulmonary embolism , a blood clot in a lung. They tracked post-surgery incidences of these serious types of clots in both 1) women who were using combined oral contraceptives, and 2) women who were not using combined oral contraceptives. They also accounted for other risk factors, including obesity and smoking.
Who’s At Risk Of Getting Blood Clots
The highest risk of blood clots among reproductive-aged women occurs during pregnancy and in the postpartum period, when estrogen levels increase. Among pregnant women, between 5 and 20 in every 10,000 pregnant women will experience a blood clot in a year 40 to 65 in every 10,000 postpartum women experience a blood clot in a year.
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What Does A Blood Clot Feel Like
A blood clot can appear in many areas of the body including, but not limited to the legs, chest, abdomen, and brain. Depending on their location, symptoms may vary.
- Inability to walk
- Poor concentration
It is possible to have a blood clot and not experience any symptoms. If you notice physical signs, even without symptoms, consult your doctor. The sooner a blood clot is detected, the less likely you are to experience permanent harm.
When To Seek Professional Treatment
If you suspect you may have DVT or PE, you should seek professional treatment for proper diagnosis and care. However, if you begin experiencing chest pain or shortness of breath, you should call 911 or go to the emergency room.
Additionally, if you’re found to have blood clots as a result of hormonal birth control, you should work with your doctor to decide whether you should continue using hormonal birth control once the clot is treated.
Blood Clots Doctor Discussion Guide
People with a family history of blood clots or known blood clotting disorder are advised to also discuss the use of hormonal contraceptives with a specialist to make sure it is safe to do so since these are risk factors of developing blood clots.
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Clots Are Serious Business And A Birth Control Risk We Cant Ignore
The ER staff performed an ultrasound on my arm and neck to confirm the DVT. They immediately treated me with blood thinners and pain medication and admitted me to the hospital for observation. By then, my arm was huge, throbbing, and nearly immobile. The doctor told me that it was a good thing Id come in when I did.
A clot can cause disability or even death.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that blood clots kill 60,000 to 100,000 people in the United States each year. The most serious concern with a DVT is a pulmonary embolism . A PE is a blockage that occurs when a clot or any part of a clot from a DVT breaks off within a major vein and travels to the lungs. The results can damage the lungs or prove fatal by affecting the heart and bodys oxygen supply, causing sudden death.
My female friends who also took birth control pills and had read or heard of the same warnings and I were in disbelief about my DVT. I naïvely thought those warnings only applied to smokers Ive never smoked a day in my life.
But truthfully, if Id paid more attention to the warnings, I dont think I wouldve stopped taking birth control pills, either. Women take birth control pills for many reasons. Not all are related to family planning.
How It Prevents Pregnancy
The pill prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg each month . It also:
- thickens the mucus in the neck of the womb, so it is harder for sperm to penetrate the womb and reach an egg
- thins the lining of the womb, so there is less chance of a fertilised egg implanting into the womb and being able to grow
The pill is over 99% effective if used correctly. Other methods of contraception are better at preventing pregnancy, such as the IUD, IUS, implant and injection.
There are many different brands of pill, made up of 3 main types:
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The Little Discussed But High Blood Clot Risk Of Hormonal Birth Control06/25/2021 At : 02 Pmposted By Kevin Edward White
In April, the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine received scrutiny after six women experienced a rare blood clot condition, causing the United States to pause its distribution out of an abundance of caution. Immediately, some trying to downplay the risk compared the J& J vaccine to hormonal birth control.
For perspective, here are some numbers:
1 in 1,000,000: J& J vaccine
1 in 3,000: oral contraceptives
1 in 5: hospitalized COVID-19 patients
As someone who got the J& J vaccine 8 days ago, and who took oral contraceptives for 20 years, Ill take these odds.
Dr. Angela Rasmussen April 13, 2021
While the type of blood clot apparently caused by the J& J vaccine and those caused by birth control are different types of clots, I couldnt help but wonder if the comparisons to birth control blood clot risk would bring more attention to the often downplayed but quite serious health risk of the most highly prescribed drugs in the world. Saying birth control causes more life-threatening blood clots than the J& J vaccine isnt quite a ringing endorsement for the vaccine, I thought, since birth control-caused blood clots take a significant number of womens lives yearly!
Between 300-400 U.S. women die annually because of hormonal birth control
One woman named Laura posted this comment:
Another woman, named Stacey shared this:
Numerous girls and women are exposed to birth control risks as the default of womens healthcare
This article first appeared HERE.
Clotting Is A Complex System
Typically, blood clots form whenever there’s an injury to a blood vessel. Tiny fragments of cells, called platelets, arrive on scene to plug up the hole. If you’ve ever had a scab on your skin, that’s actually a dried blood clot.
But these biological Band-Aids can form even when there’s no obvious damage. Estrogen a reproductive hormone found in men , women and hormonal birth control enhances blood’s ability to thicken. While it doesn’t necessarily cause blood clots, estrogen can increase the risk by as much as three- to four-fold, according to the National Blood Clot Alliance.
Other factors that can affect one’s chance of developing blood clots include genetic mutations in a clotting factor called V Leiden, which is associated with a three-fold risk increase lifestyle choices such as smoking preexisting conditions such as obesity and arteriosclerosis pregnancy and even sitting for too long.
For the affected vaccine recipients, it’s still unclear what exactly triggered their blood clots, though many experts have pointed to similarities with a blood clotting disorder called heparin-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia.
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