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Are You at Risk for This Potential High Blood Pressure Complication?

There are millions of women around the world who are using birth control pills as an effective way of avoiding becoming pregnant.  Also some women and young girls who take the birth control pill do so as a way to help with irregular periods or deal with other health problems they may have such as acne or endometriosis. But it is important that every woman understand the high blood pressure risk and birth control pill connection to ensure they manage the potential dangers of hypertension.

First lets cover a little bit about birth control pills and how they work.  The most commonly used birth control pills are made from a synthetic mixture of two hormones (estrogen and progesterone).  However there is one particular type of birth control pill, which contains just the synthetic hormone progesterone and this is more commonly known as the mini pill. 

The pill works by fooling the body into thinking it is pregnant and so suppressing the hormones that trigger ovulation. They also reduce the development of the uterus lining and increase the amount of mucous in the cervix, making it harder to sperm to navigate its way to its target.

The hormones in the contraceptive pill that do a great job at stopping ovulation are synthetic replicas of our own hormones, and can increase the risk of a women having high blood pressure.

Studies that have been carried out in the past show that contraceptive pills can elevate blood pressure levels, but since many of those studies were completed the levels of hormones used in contraceptive pills have been reduced. 

However, there is still a greater risk of hypertension for those that take contraceptive pills compared to women who don’t. This is why a doctor will take certain precautions when prescribing them.

The level of increase in blood pressure of someone who takes the contraceptive pill can range from nothing/ mild, to severe with only a few factors that have been identified as potentially increasing the risk; these include:

- Having a family history of high blood pressure especially on the female side
- Having a history of high blood pressure during pregnancy
- Having a heart or blood vessel condition

Also, the risk of elevated blood pressure seems to increase with age, length of usage and body mass.

When a women first decides to start taking a contraceptive pill she will usually have a baseline blood pressure reading taken.  This is so if there are marked changes to the blood pressure levels they can be identified when future readings are taken.  To be sure there are no adverse effects the doctor is likely to request a new user to revisit every few weeks to initially monitor any potential impacts on blood pressure.

When requesting a repeat prescription a doctor or nurse will again take blood pressure measurements to ensure there is no abnormality in blood pressure readings.

If blood pressure levels have risen then there are a few options available to the doctor, including;

- Allowing continuation with the contraceptive pill alongside close monitoring
- Discontinue the use of the contraceptive pill and try another contraceptive option
- Switch to another contraceptive pill and monitor the reaction.

Although there is a recognized high blood pressure birth control pill link, there have been few recent studies that allow for an understanding of the complete risk.  All that is known is that each person may react differently to taking contraceptive pills and close monitoring of blood pressure is required initially, followed by regular blood pressure checks throughout the course duration.

If you haven’t already done so, sign up for the free Relieve Blood Pressure Newsletter and discover new and natural methods to manage high blood pressure. In the newsletter you’ll also find other ways to lower blood pressure along with more information on other potential complications like the high blood pressure birth control pills risk.


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One Response to “Are You at Risk for This Potential High Blood Pressure Complication?”

  1. Al G Smith Says:

    I don’t think I’m personally at risk from the pill ;) but this is an important and informative post Paul, that I think will ring bells for many folks!

    BTW the html at the bottom of your blog page seems to all be ‘to cock’ as they say — there are a lot of funny messages about failing to open and stuff like that. Just thought you should know!

    Cheers - keep up the good work
    Al G Smith
    Webmaster & Publisher

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