Study Shows Newest Forms of Birth Control Pills Increase the Risk of Blood Clots

A new study published in The BMJ, reports that the risk of developing blood clots for women taking oral contraceptives was nearly three times that of women who do not take the medication. While blood clots have been a known risk for women taking oral contraceptives, the risk often seemed small enough to justify taking the Pill.

Yana Vinogradova, the lead scientist of the report told TIME, "Our study suggests that the newer contraceptives have a higher risk of [blood clots] than the older agents." People taking birth control pills that contain the newest types of the progestogen hormone, including brands such as Yaz, Yasmin, and Desogen, proved to be at a higher risk compared to people taking the Pill containing first-generation versions of the hormone.

The levels of progesterone differentiate the newer pills from the older ones. Since the 1960s, scientists have been tweaking the levels of this hormone to curb other side effects such as acne, headache, weight gain, and breakthrough bleeding. Although these side effects may be less common now, these changes have increased the chance of blood clots that can potentially lead to stroke, similar to what this 26-year-old woman experienced.
Although the risk of blood clots for women taking the newest forms of birth control pills are higher than before, the authors of this study point out that the potential of developing a blood clot still remains low and is significantly lower than the risk of blood clots that occur during pregnancy. Vinogradova suggests that women using oral contraceptives monitor their bodies, along with their doctor, for potential symptoms of poor circulation and switch to other formulas when needed.

Sources: WebMD/TIME
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