Contraceptive Pills and Risk of Blood Clots
Contraceptive is a powerful medication and over 200 million women worldwide take some type of contraceptive pills as their choice of birth control. According to a study conducted in 2011 contraceptive pill has been the most widely-used contraception method since 1982.
Contraceptive pills work to prevent pregnancy through the use of specific hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. Most women take birth control in the form of a combination pill that has estrogen and a form of synthetic progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone have many important effects on a woman’s body. Both estrogen and progesterone are essential for woman’s reproductive system. However, the release of these hormones through contraceptive medications stops the ovulation process and averts the production of mature eggs. The estrogen hormone functions to suppress the pituitary gland from forming luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormones (FHS) which in turn disturb the occurrence of ovulation and prevent chances of a woman getting pregnant.
However, woman who are taking hormone-based contraceptives can be at a higher chance of developing blood clots. It has been proposed that oral contraceptives may spur the liver to produce more blood clotting proteins which are crucial for the blood coagulation. For this reason, there have been concerns about their role in blood clot formation since they were first introduced.
For the average woman taking hormone-based contraceptive pills, the absolute risk of developing a blood clot is generally very small. Per annum, only 1 in 1,000 women will develop a blood clot from such birth control pills. However, certain conditions can work synergistically with hormone-based medications to increase the risk of blood clots. A recent study using two large databases discovered that woman with a history of venous thrombosis had almost a tripled chance of developing blood clot when taking contraceptive pills. Some women have genetic predispositions towards blood clots that can also influence their chances of developing such condition.
It is very important to consult with your doctor to choose a contraceptive plan that fits best with your lifestyle, your medical history and even your genetics, as these can actually influence your risks of developing blood clots.
For more information on how genetics can influence your risk of developing blood clots refer to this blog post, here.