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The use of oral contraceptives (OCs) can cause serious medical complications. It is the responsibility of pharmaceutical companies to present these risks to consumers. Here's what they don't want you to know.
Patients must carefully weigh all options before using birth control pills. If any serious complications arise, after your healthcare provider, your lawyer should be contacted.
Adverse effects are not limited to the heart and lungs. Stroke is the interruption of blood flow to the brain. This interruption can cause permanent neurological damage due to the death of brain cells and may result in death.
Serious medical issues can arise from the use of birth control pills:
Atherosclerosis is a serious medical condition in which arteries become clogged by deposits along the artery walls. Symptoms of atherosclerosis do not become evident until blood flow is significantly altered or completely blocked. The altered blood flow can result in aneurysm (bulging in the blood vessel with a chance of rupture), disease of the coronary arteries, narrowing of the arteries leading to the kidneys, high blood pressure, stroke, and other serious medical issues.
Another cardiac issue that may occur with oral contraceptive use is cardiac arrhythmias. These conditions are characterized by abnormal electrical activity in the heart muscle causing irregular heartbeat (rhythm) or abnormal heart rate. One of these arrhythmias is called extrasystole, a premature contraction of the heart muscle that affects the normal rhythm and efficiency of blood flow to the body. Bradycardia, an abnormal slowing of the heart, can cause fainting, dizziness, chest pain, and other cardiac complications.
Intracardiac thrombus, or blood clots in the heart, can also arise in patients taking birth control pills. These clots block blood flow and can result in heart attack. Another potential complication of OC use is pulmonary embolism, a blockage in the pulmonary artery which travels from the heart to the lungs which can result in lung damage or death.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) can also be a consequence of OC use. DVT is a blood clot in vein located deeply in the body, usually in the leg. Treatment is blood thinners or surgery. If the DVT breaks off and moves, it can travel to the heart or lung.
In addition, medical studies have shown that the incidence of gallstones is 2-2.5 times higher in women using birth control pills. OCs substantially increase the amount of cholesterol in bile and reduce the efficiency of gallbladder emptying. Gallstones are hard deposits formed within the gallbladder as a result of the increased cholesterol and decreased efficiency. These stones can be very painful and usually require a laparoscopic procedure for gallbladder removal.Do You Have A YAZ Birth Control Case? »
Drospirenone, the progestin used in Yasmin, YAZ, and Ocella, may cause hyperkalemia, or an unhealthy rise in blood potassium. Often, hyperkalemia is symptom-free and therefore patients do not know there is a problem until a serious medical issue results from the potassium build-up. The most common risk of hyperkalemia is cardiac arrest (heart attack). Patients taking OCs with drospirenone should have potassium levels checked, especially if they are taking other drugs that may increase potassium in the bloodstream. The biggest danger of drospirenone-based contraceptives is sudden death.
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