You used birth control and now have serious health problems. Or perhaps you are concerned that a friend, family member or significant other may be suffering from birth control pill injuries. The following will give you an overview of some birth control methods linked to injuries and the symptoms you may experience.
Although many women use contraception, you should be aware that birth control is linked to serious injuries. Some women have even died from taking birth control medication.1 The risks associated with birth control pills and other forms of contraception depend on the type of contraception used.
Hormones play a role in pregnancy, and in some way or another, most forms of birth control change the body's hormone balance. This change may cause health problems.
Most users take combination birth control pills. These drugs combine estrogen and progestin — hormones that stop the ovaries from releasing an egg. Progestin also gums up the mucus around the cervix. Generally, this keeps the sperm from reaching the egg.
- High blood pressure
- Blood clots
- Heart attacks
- Cervical cancer
These side effects may cause serious injuries or even death.
Drospirenone and blood clots
Some combination birth control pills use a new kind of progestin called drospirenone. These combination medications contain drospirenone:4
Like other forms of contraception, these birth control medications may be linked to serious injuries.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been reviewing the safety of these drugs.5 The FDA found evidence that these drugs may increase the risk of blood clots.6 But it also notes that not all studies show a link between these drugs and blood clots.
Yaz and deep vein thrombosis
Yaz and similar drugs may cause deep vein thrombosis or DVT.7 In DVT, a blood clot forms in the leg or another part of the body. The clot may move through the body. It may even lodge in the lung, a condition known as a pulmonary embolism (PE). Whether they occur in the lungs, legs or other body part, these events are also called venous thromboembolisms, or VTEs. They can lead to hospitalization and death.8
Symptoms of a blood clot may include:
- Chest pain
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling of the leg
- Leg pain or tenderness
- Strange warmth or redness of the leg
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.
Mini-pills and ovarian cysts
Some women, such as those who have had breast cancer, cannot take estrogen. For them, mini-pills are an option for contraception. These birth control pills contain only progestin, not estrogen. However, mini-pills may cause ovarian cysts.9
Most ovarian cyst issues resolve themselves. But some cysts may rupture,10 causing:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Frequent urination and diarrhea
- Dizziness and weakness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Heavy bleeding
- Anemia from loss of blood
Your doctor may recommend an ultrasound to confirm whether these symptoms are due to a ruptured cyst or another medical condition.
If an ovarian cyst does not rupture and gets too big (around 5-10 cm11), your doctor may recommend surgery to remove it. In some cases, the entire ovary may be removed if the cyst is too firmly attached or wrapped around the ovary.
Other hormonal birth control methods
NuvaRing ®, a ring placed into the vagina, releases estrogen and progestin into the blood. The risks, though rare, include high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks and stroke.12
Ortho Evra ® delivers estrogen and progestin into the body through a skin patch. According to the FDA, users may experience blood clots in leg veins.13 The patch may also lead to high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke.14 Most users will not experience these severe side effects, however.
Has your birth control harmed you?
No one should suffer harm from unsafe drugs. If you are experiencing serious injuries that could be caused by your birth control, please see your health-care professional. In addition, a birth control lawyer can answer questions about any legal rights you may have.