Blood clots are more likely to form if you use hormonal birth control, such as the pill. Understanding your risk is essential if using hormonal birth control. A person’s risk of developing a blood clot increases with age and the onset of some medical problems. However, most premenopausal people are at low risk.
This condition is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and is characterized by the formation of a clot in the veins. It can spread to other parts of the body, including the heart and lungs if it breaks free. There are some instances where this can be life-altering.
However, blood clots can be prevented and treated. People who take hormonal birth control need to be aware of the potential dangers of their treatment. Even though birth control increases the risk of blood clots, the overall risk is still very low.
If you want to reduce your risk of blood clots, you may want to consider using condoms or an IUD made of copper. The estrogen and progestin hormones found in most birth control pills work to prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation in a woman’s body during her monthly cycle.
A high estrogen level in the body, however, can also lead to the formation of blood clots that can obstruct normal blood flow (deep vein thrombosis happens when a clot forms in a vein). Symptoms like pain, redness, and swelling can occur, but if a piece of the clot breaks off and travels to the lungs, it could cause a more severe complication known as pulmonary embolism, which would prevent blood from reaching the lungs.
Symptoms of a blood clot
Even though a blood clot can occur while on birth control, women should be aware of the warning signs and know what to do if they do occur. Symptoms of blood clots in the legs include discomfort, swelling, heaviness, or cramping in the legs.
Even the cerebral sinuses, which are the main veins that drain blood flow from the brain, can be affected by venous thrombosis. You should see a doctor if you notice any of the symptoms of a blood clot. It is advisable that if you have shortness of breath or chest pain, you should go to the emergency department right away.
A specialist should be sought out by women who have had blood clots as a result of birth control to determine whether or not they should be re-exposed to hormones. For future pregnancies, they should consult with a specialist who can help them manage their risks.
Do not use hormones without first speaking with your doctor about your risk factors, such as having blood clots in your family or having an existing clotting disorder. This information also applies to women who are considering hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms.
Deep vein thrombosis
A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a form of a blood clot that typically occurs in one of the legs. It is a form of VTE. It can either partially or completely block blood flow, depending on the severity. The heart and lungs are particularly vulnerable to blood clots that break off and travel elsewhere in the body. An embolism in the arteries that carry blood to the lungs is typically caused by an embolism from a DVT. Although DVT is a serious condition, it is treatable if diagnosed early enough. If you don’t know what deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is, you could be at risk for it.
DVT is more likely to occur in women who use birth control:
- Are at least 35 years of age
- Do not move for an extended period, or on a long trip, or the following surgery
- Know what it feels like to have a broken bone in your leg
- Cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, and obesity.
- Risk factors, like inherited blood-clotting diseases
- A serious illness such as cancer or an autoimmune disorder like Lupus
A blood clot can be mistaken for a calf injury or bruise by some people. You should be on the lookout for these injuries if you have other risk factors like those listed above. Blood clots can cause symptoms that worsen or don’t go away.
Blood clots can cause a wide range of symptoms, but the most common are:
- soreness in one leg, particularly when walking
- a swollen leg or foot on one side
- pain in the lower leg is accompanied by redness, warmth, and tenderness.
It can cause chest pain, dyspnoea, dizziness, cough, or very low blood pressure if the clot breaks loose and travels away from the DVT site. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.
Blood clots and its effects
Blood clots in the arteries (arterial thrombi) form in a distinct way. Plaque deposits build and grow along the artery’s lining in those with atherosclerotic disease, causing the vessel to shrink. This illness process may result in the following:
- Acute coronary syndrome
- The disease of the peripheral arteries (PAD)
When a plaque ruptures, a blood clot might form at the rupture site, fully or partially impeding blood flow.
Other effects of blood clots
In atrial fibrillation, the upper chamber of the heart (the atrium) does not beat in an ordered way, resulting in blood clots. Instead, it squirms, and blood pools around the atrium’s walls. Small blood clots can form as a result of this over time. After a cardiac attack, clots can form in the ventricle if the heart muscle is damaged and unable to contract normally. There is the potential for blood to pool or stagnate in the injured area, which can lead to clot formation.
Bleeding can be stopped by the formation of an air bubble, which occurs when blood seeps out of an open vein or capillary and clumps together into a clot. Examples of how the body’s clotting mechanism regulates bleeding are provided here.
- Abrasions or cuts
- Fractured limbs
- Strains and sprains.
In some cases, a typical blood clot can cause other medical issues because of where it is located. The urethra, the tube that drains the bladder, can get clogged with clots, preventing the bladder from emptying and resulting in urinary retention. For example, infection, trauma, or tumor/cancer can all lead to blood in the urine. It is possible to have pain and bleeding in the cervix when the uterine clots are passed via the cervix, either as part of menstruation or as atypical vaginal bleeding.
Deep vein thrombosis and lung thrombosis
Deep venous thrombosis is the medical term for blood clots that form in the deep veins (DVT). Although DVTs are most commonly found in the lower limbs, it has effects on other parts of the body. The characteristic appearance of a DVT is abrupt pain in one leg or calf, pain when walking or standing, Edema, redness, and warmth in the region.
If a portion of a clot breaks off from the DVT and enters the bloodstream, it can cause catastrophic damage to the lungs. There are small blood arteries in the lungs that might stifle the flow of blood to a location where an embolism has been established. One of the most serious complications of this is pulmonary embolism (blockage), which can cause chest pain and difficulty breathing.
Blood clots treatment
When a blood clot is diagnosed, your doctor may prescribe medication to dissolve it. A blood thinner (also referred to as an anticoagulant) is a type of medication. Following this treatment plan is usually recommended by your doctor. Heparin, a fast-acting medication, will be given to you for the first week. Under the skin, this medicine is injected. These shots can either be administered by you or by a family member or a friend. Also, warfarin pills will be given to you by mouth, the brand name of Coumadin®. Afterward, you will no longer need to take both shots and pills for about a week. For the next three to six months, you will need to take Coumadin®/warfarin pills.
Blood Clot Prevention
You can take precautions to avoid blood clots if you:
- Wear baggy clothing, socks, or stockings.
- If your doctor has prescribed then you should wear special socks (compression stockings).
- Carry out the workouts prescribed by your doctor.
- Periodically, lift your legs 6 inches above your heart.
- Alternate your position frequently, especially on a long ride.
- Raise the foot of your bed by 4 to 6 inches using blocks or books.
- Avoid standing or sitting for longer than one hour at a time.
- Consume less salt.
- Avoid bumping or injuring your legs, and avoid crossing them.
- Avoid placing cushions beneath your knees.
- Take all medications prescribed by your doctor.
Alternatives to nonhormonal birth control
While blood clot data differs, the absolute risk remains minimal. Individuals who are concerned about blood clots, have previously experienced one, or have some of the risk factors stated above may want to utilize a nonhormonal method of birth control.
Several nonhormonal birth control methods include the following:
- Sterilization for females, entails tubal ligation (“tying the tubes”), while for males, it entails a vasectomy.
- Condoms are also effective at preventing sexually transmitted infections.
- Diaphragms are the membranes that cover the cervix. They include spermicide to aid in pregnancy prevention. You can get all types of birth control online from pharmaceutical websites.
- Fertility awareness is following one’s menstrual cycle in order to know when one is most fertile and then abstaining from sex during those times.
- A non-hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) is a form of IUD that is often constructed of copper and can last for years.