Why your birth-control pill could kill you

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By ALEXANDRA THOMPSON HEALTH REPORTER FOR MAILONLINE

  • Hormonal birth-control raises a woman’s risk of having an ischemic stroke
  • This occurs when an artery to the brain is blocked and makes up 85% of cases
  • Hormonal pills and patches do not increase the risk of bleeding in the brain
  • Certain birth-control pills appear to raise the risk by making blood clot easier
  • In the US, nearly 37% of women are currently using some form of birth control

Oral contraceptives increase the risk of women suffering from certain types of stroke, new research suggests.

Birth-control pills raise a woman’s likelihood of suffering from an ischemic stroke, which occurs when an artery to the brain is blocked and makes up around 85 percent of cases of the life-threatening condition, a study found.

The researchers, from Loyola University in Chicago, wrote: ‘[Among] women with other stroke risk factors, the risk seems higher and, in most cases, oral contraceptive use should be discouraged’.

Such contraceptives do not raise the risk of hemorrhagic strokes, which are caused by bleeding in the brain, the research adds.

Birth-control pills, patches and jabs are thought to rise the risk of artery blockages by making blood more likely to clot.

The researchers stress, however, the risk is low among women without any risk factors for clotting. These include high-blood pressure and smoking.

Most women have tried at least one hormonal contraceptive in their lives. In the US, nearly 37 percent of women are currently using birth control.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in women in the US, with 55,000 more females suffering than men every year.

Results further suggest women are not being accurately screened for potential stroke risk-factors before being prescribed hormonal contraceptives.

Among women at risk of the medical emergency, only 15 percent recall being advised not to take birth-control pills, while just 36 percent have been told to stop taking the medication.

Some 15 percent of women carry on their birth-control course after being told to discontinue.

The researchers believe this highlights the need for effective doctor-patient communication.

Speaking of how women can reduce their stroke risk, the researchers wrote: ‘The ideal drug is one with the lowest estrogen and progestin doses that will be effective in preventing pregnancy while minimizing adverse effects.’

The findings were published in the journal MedLink Neurology. 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5468371/Why-birth-control-pill-kill-you.html#ixzz59ZksyZv4

 

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