Birth control high blood pressure symptoms can be a problem for women taking certain types of hormonal contraceptives. The two birth control methods that pose the most risk include the birth control pill and the birth control patch.
However, not every woman who uses these methods of birth control will experience high blood pressure, as there are many factors involved that generally determine the degree of risk each woman faces.
Nevertheless, the reason why hormonal birth control high blood pressure risk exists, is because these contraceptives contain progestins. Progestin is a type if drug that mirrors the activity of the hormone progesterone which naturally occurs in the female body.
It is common for progestin to slightly raise the blood pressure in most women who take hormonal birth control, and it is the cause of high blood pressure when it occurs.
The risk of birth control causing high blood pressure increases for a woman based on the following factors:
Age – As a woman ages (usually mid 35 and older), her chances of developing high blood pressure increases.
Duration of use – The longer a woman uses the pill or patch, the greater the chances of high blood pressure occurring.
Pre-existing condition – Women who have previously experienced episodes of consistent high blood pressure, even only if it was during pregnancy, are at a greater risk.
Family history – Women who have a family history of hypertension could be at a greater risk.
Obesity – a woman who is obese has a greater risk of developing high blood pressure.
Hormonal contraception is one of the most convenient and effective methods of birth control, but it is a fact that high blood pressure occurs 2- 3 times more frequently in women who take hormonal contraceptives than those who use other methods.
Therefore, if you take the pill or are using the patch - regardless if you have any of the above increased risk factors or not - have your doctor check your blood pressure every year.
Should you discover you have developed high blood pressure, you should stop taking hormonal contraceptives and seek out other birth control methods. Once off the pill or the patch, your blood pressure should return to normal within 3 to 6 months.
Keep in mind that although you can take hormonal methods of birth control if you have high blood pressure that is being regulated with medications, you will need to have your blood pressure closely monitored by your doctor. Nonetheless, it is strongly advised that anyone who had, has, or is at a greater risk of developing high blood pressure, use other birth control methods.
The following are safe methods of birth control that doesn’t put a woman at high blood pressure risk:
Barrier birth control methods – condoms, diaphragm, sponge, cervical cap. Each of these methods is disposed of after sexual intercourse.
Birth control injection – DepoProvera is a shot containing synthetic progestin (different from the pill and patch) administered via a needle every three months. DepoProvera a long-term method of birth control.
Birth control implant - Norplant is a progestin capsule that is inserted into the upper arm and lasts for 5 years. An IUD (intrauterine device) is a T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus (and can last a year or 10 years depending on the type) and is very effective at preventing pregnancy. The IUD is recommended for those women who are in a long-term monogamous relationship.
Keep in mind that even though the above do not directly impact high blood pressure, the shots and implants do have side effects, and none of the above contraception (including the pill and patch), except for the condom, prevent the transmission of STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases). Therefore, make sure you discuss your contraceptive options with your health care provider if birth control high blood pressure is a risk factor for you.
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