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Non-Oral Contraceptives Increase Risk of Clots
by William Reese
After having a baby, most women aren't ready to jump back into the sack and try to conceive another child. This is why post-pregnancy might be a good time to consider birth control methods. For some women, newer non-oral contraceptives, such as vaginal rings, skin patches and implants, have become popular for their minimal hormone levels, consistent administration of hormones into the blood and low maintenance. These methods are offered as a good alternative for women who aren't good at remembering to take a pill every day.
However, a study recently published in the British Medical Journal found that these methods might come with a higher risk of blood clots, also known as venous thromboembolism, when compared to oral contraceptives.
Blood Clots are not News
This is not the first time studies have been conducted on the impact of birth control methods on blood clots. This past April, The National Institutes of Health reported that pills containing drospirenone, which is a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone, also may be associated with an increased risk of blood clots. This includes some popular advertised brands, which are marketed to have fewer side effects as older brands. In response, the Food and Drug Administration reprinted drug labels be distributed to all U.S. pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies, indicating the new knowledge of increased risk.
"For any type of contraception that contains estrogen and progesterone, the risk of blood clots may have to do with the type of progesterone the pill contains," Susan Jick, an epidemiologist at Boston University who has studied the safety of oral contraceptives, told Fox News. "Because the findings pertaining to the vaginal ring and patch are relatively new, more research is needed to confirm them."
The study addressing the use of non-oral contraceptives observed 9,429,128 women, 3,434 of whom received first-time diagnosis of venous thrombosis. Those who used methods that had a form of estrogen in it were reported to have an increased risk factor, compared to those who used contraceptives lacking the hormone. For instance, those on the patch had an eight times greater risk than non-users of the same age, and those who used the vaginal ring had a 6.5 times increased risk of clots.
However, those women who used progestogen-only methods, like the implant and the intrauterine device, had a slightly increased risk or none, respectively.
Since many birth control methods may cause an increased risk in blood clots, as printed on all drug labels, it is important to discuss all your options with your healthcare provider.
Did you take birth control after having a baby? Have you had any negative experiences with a specific method?