Oral contraceptives, more commonly known as birth control pills are associated with making your life easier, not necessarily more stressful. Sure, you do have to stay on top of taking your dose every single day like clockwork or you could risk an unwanted pregnancy, but it does make life easier for those that follow the directions.
Birth control pills aren’t supposed to make your life more difficult, but the risk of blood clots and even worse – strokes – could have you thinking twice before popping your daily pill.
Oral contraceptives have been around for decades, but really took off and saw a lot of growth in demand during the feminist activities of the 60s and 70s. Women were feeling liberated and empowered to take control of their bodies and when to have a child. As demand for birth control has increased – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 62 percent of women of reproductive age are on some form of birth control – there have been significant developments in the methods and formulas.
Blood Clots & Stroke
What makes oral contraceptives risky, however, is the specific hormone found in the pills. Birth control pills contain estrogen and progesterone and are known for a risk of developing blood clots. While the risk may not necessarily be great, it is a significant one that science has continued to prove. One in 1,000 women who are taking birth control pills will generate a blood clot at some point.
Blood clots are more dangerous than it sounds. Sure, your body clots blood any time you get a cut and eventually the blood stops flowing. This is because of the blood that clotted near the wound. But the dangers of a blood clot developing within your body is particularly scary because it can travel through the bloodstream to a place where it can threaten your life, like your lungs, heart, or brain.
When a blood clot that moves up into your brain, it can block oxygenated blood flow to the brain. A lack of adequate oxygen will kill brain cells – an event called a stroke. Strokes are medical emergencies and should not be taken lightly, even if you feel “recovered.” Timely medical attention can make all the difference in the world for people who have suffered a stroke.
This doesn’t mean there is necessarily a reason to panic, though. The risk of developing a blood clot that could cause a stroke is still pretty small if you are a healthy, active woman with no known risk factors for a stroke. You should, however, be concerned if you are on birth control pills and smoke, have a history of high blood pressure or migraines. If you suspect you could be at risk, you may want to talk to your gynecologist about other contraceptive options.
To be more informed on possible stroke risks, and what you can do to prevent a stroke, speak to the medical experts at Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery.
If you’re experiencing pain or need a second opinion, call us today at (303) 790-1800 or use our online form to request an appointment