Blood Clots and Birth Control With Estrogen – Part 1
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Blood Clots and Birth Control With Estrogen – Part 1


THROUGHOUT THEIR LIVES, WOMEN FACE A SERIES
OF BLOOD CLOTTING CHALLENGES UNIQUE TO THEIR GENDER. IMPORTANT CHOICES WOMEN MAKE ABOUT FAMILY
PLANNING OR BIRTH CONTROL, PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH, AND THE TREATMENT OF MENOPAUSE SYMPTOMS LATER
IN LIFE, ALL CAN IMPACT THEIR POTENTIAL RISK FOR LIFE-THREATENING BLOOD CLOTS. WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? EACH YEAR IN THE UNITED
STATES, ABOUT 900,000 PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED BY BLOOD CLOTS. ABOUT 100,000 OF THESE PEOPLE
WILL DIE. ANNUALLY, MORE PEOPLE LOSE THEIR LIVES DUE
TO BLOOD CLOTS THAN DUE TO BREAST CANCER, AIDS, AND AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS…COMBINED. DANGEROUS BLOOD CLOTS OFTEN FORM IN THE DEEP
VEINS OF A PERSON’S ARM OR LEG. THIS TYPE OF BLOOD CLOT IS CALLED A DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS
OR D-V-T. IF A D-V-T IS LEFT UNTREATED, IT CAN BREAK OFF OR TRAVEL TO THE LUNGS. A BLOOD CLOT THAT TRAVELS TO THE LUNG IS CALLED
A PULMONARY EMBOLISM OR P-E AND CAN BE LIFE-THREATENING. WOMEN ARE MORE AT RISK FOR BLOOD CLOTS DURING
CHILD BEARING AGE, BUT THEY ALSO FACE UNIQUE RISKS LATER IN LIFE, WHEN THE ONSET OF MENOPAUSE
SYMPTOMS OCCUR. THE MOST COMMON METHOD OF BIRTH CONTROL IN
THE UNITED STATES IS THE BIRTH CONTROL PILL. MOST BIRTH CONTROL PILLS CONTAIN THE HORMONES
ESTROGEN AND SYNTHETIC PROGESTERONE, CALLED PROGESTIN, AND CONTRIBUTE TO AN INCREASED
RISK OF BLOOD CLOTS, BECAUSE THEY CAUSE THE LEVEL OF CLOTTING PROTEINS IN A WOMAN’S
BODY TO INCREASE. IN FACT, STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT NEWER BIRTH
CONTROL PILLS ACTUALLY POSE A RISK TWO-TIMES GREATER THAN OLDER BIRTH CONTROL PILLS DO. THE RISKS ARE MUCH HIGHER, HOWEVER, FOR WOMEN
WHO HAVE ALREADY HAD A BLOOD CLOT OR WHO HAVE A FAMILY HISTORY OF BLOOD CLOTS, AND THEY
SHOULD ONLY USE BIRTH CONTROL METHODS THAT CONTAIN ESTROGEN IF THEY ARE TAKING ANTICOAGULATION
THERAPY OR BLOOD THINNERS. WHETHER YOU HAVE A CLOTTING DISORDER OR NOT,
YOU CAN PLAN YOUR FAMILY AS YOU CHOOSE. THERE ARE BIRTH CONTROL OPTIONS THAT CAN HELP
YOU AVOID THE INCREASED RISK OF BLOOD CLOTS, INCLUDING:
— BARRIER METHODS — SPERMICIDES
— THE COPPER I-U-D — TUBAL LIGATION OR VASECTOMY FOR YOUR PARTNER
— PROGESTIN-ONLY PILLS, WHICH DO NOT INCREASE THE RISK FOR
BLOOD CLOTS — PROGESTIN I-U-D
— AND, THE PROGESTIN IMPLANT WOMEN SHOULD TALK TO THEIR DOCTOR OR HEALTHCARE
PROVIDER ABOUT THEIR BLOOD CLOT RISK FACTORS, PARTICULARLY IF THEY HAVE A FAMILY HISTORY
OF BLOOD CLOTS. YOUR DOCTOR CAN HELP YOU DETERMINE THE BEST
FAMILY PLANNING OPTIONS FOR YOU. IF YOU PLAN TO GET PREGNANT, OR LEARN THAT
YOU ARE PREGNANT, ALWAYS LET YOUR DOCTOR KNOW RIGHT AWAY, AND DISCUSS YOUR BLOOD CLOTTING
RISKS. IT’S CRUCIAL FOR WOMEN TO UNDERSTAND THEIR
BLOOD CLOT RISKS, AND ALSO TO RECOGNIZE AND SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IF THEY EXPERIENCE
THE SIGNS OR SYMPTOMS OF A BLOOD CLOT. THE SYMPTOMS OF A BLOOD CLOT IN YOUR LEG OR
ARM MIGHT INCLUDE: SWELLING, PAIN, OR TENDERNESS NOT CAUSED BY
INJURY SKIN THAT IS WARM TO THE TOUCH REDNESS OR DISCOLORATION THE SYMPTOMS OF A BLOOD CLOT IN YOUR LUNG
MIGHT INCLUDE: DIFFICULTY BREATHING CHEST PAIN THAT WORSENS WITH A DEEP BREATH COUGHING UP BLOOD WITH THE INFORMATION THEY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
BLOOD CLOTS, AND AN UNDERSTANDING ABOUT THE SPECTRUM OF OPTIONS THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO
THEM, WOMEN CAN REDUCE THEIR CLOTTING RISK AT THESE DIFFERENT PIVOTAL LIFE STAGES – THEY
CAN “STOP THE CLOT” — AND ENJOY FULLY THE HAPPINESS THAT THESE LIFE STAGES OFFER.

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