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People Are Sharing How Birth Control Caused Them To Develop Blood Clots In Their Brain — Here’s What Experts Say About The Risks Of Birth Control

A 19-year-old girl named Sydney Marshall lately shared her horrifying expertise of discovering out contraception had brought on a blood clot in her mind.

She posted the story on TikTok, the place it has acquired over 10.5 million views and hundreds of feedback. Sydney says it began with a headache that changed into a migraine — and no over-the-counter treatment would assist alleviate the ache.

  @sydneymarshall /

After her migraine continued for 5 days and he or she skilled different signs — like vomiting — she headed to pressing care.

  @sydneymarshall /

The cortisone shot they gave her in pressing care labored for a brief time period, however then she says her signs got here again and he or she was admitted to the ER.

A screencap from Sydney's TikTok video

After a CT and MRI scan, she came upon she had a blood clot in her mind and was instructed it was doubtless attributable to the contraception she had been on for 2 years.

A screengrab from Sydney's tiktok video

Sadly, a fast look within the feedback will present you that Sydney’s expertise with severe negative effects after being on contraception is not tremendous uncommon.

A screengrab of a comment from Sydney's TikTok video saying they also have a blood clot issue

(And a fast TikTok search may also pull up tons of individuals sharing experiences just like Sydney’s — like this one and this one and this one.)

@sydneymarshall /

Folks shared how their contraception has brought on them to develop strokes…

A comment from Sydney's video that says they had a stroke in their 20s
A commenter saying they had a stroke at 20 and nearly died

…and different medical circumstances regarding blood clots.

A commenter saying they had a pulmonary embolism because of their birth control

BuzzFeed spoke to Sydney, who mentioned she first began taking contraception tablets containing estrogen and progestin when she was 17 years previous and he or she had by no means had any negative effects prior. “When the medical doctors instructed me that I used to be recognized with sinus thrombosis, I used to be confused and shocked. They defined that this meant I had a blood clot in a vein on the left aspect of my head that wrapped across the backside aspect of my mind,” she mentioned.

Following her prognosis, Sydney has been placed on blood thinners that she’s going to proceed to take for the subsequent six months. “I’m additionally on oral ache treatment. The ache is meant to subside inside the subsequent one to 2 weeks because the blood thinners start to begin working. The clot ought to dissolve because the blood thinners start to work. There are loads of ‘what ifs’ in relation to any medical state of affairs, however I’m certain that if this situation went untreated that I might’ve skilled a stroke,” she mentioned.

A stock photo of a woman's face putting a prescription pill into her mouth

Longhua Liao / Getty Pictures

Sydney’s medical doctors knowledgeable her that the tablets she was taking had increased quantities of estrogen and that this may very well be what interacted in her physique to trigger a blood clot to develop on this means. Sydney made it clear, although, that “all our bodies react in another way and many alternative manufacturers of contraception include the identical quantity of estrogen” because the one she was taking.

birth control pills strewn about on a table

Peter Dazeley / Getty Pictures

“General, I don’t suppose that contraception is harmful for all ladies. I feel there are a lot of dangers with taking it, and there are positively some issues to be careful for. There are lots of professionals and cons to all medicines and I feel that girls ought to simply pay attention to the negative effects and attainable cons that contraception could cause,” Sydney concluded.

BuzzFeed consulted two OB-GYNs to get their views on contraception and blood clots — Dr. Marieme Mbaye and Dr. Cordelia Nwankwo, who each have been working towards for over six years.

A headshot of Dr. Marieme Mbaye

Marieme Mbaye

Each medical doctors confirmed that hormonal contraception can enhance the danger of blood clots. “Most hormonal contraception tablets are available in two varieties. One kind is estrogen and progestin (generally known as mixture contraception) whereas the opposite is progestin-only. We all know estrogen will increase the exercise of coagulation components and different regular components of the blood that enable it to thicken, which in flip raises the danger of blood clots forming. Nonetheless, the danger of a blood clot because of estrogen-containing contraception is fortunately small — 1% or much less over 10 years of being on the tablet,” Dr. Mbaye mentioned.

pack of pills

“Progestin-only contraception is a superb various to estrogen-containing start controls like sure tablets, the patch, and the vaginal ring. Research have proven most of these contraception don’t enhance your threat for blood clots when in comparison with somebody who will not be on any contraception. Progestin-only choices embrace sure tablets, the injection, the implant, and intrauterine units (IUDs), together with Mirena, Kyleena, and Skyla within the US. There may be additionally a totally non-hormonal IUD, the Paragard (or copper) IUD,” she mentioned.

Fahroni / Getty Pictures/iStockphoto

Usually, blood clot signs might be completely different relying on the world of your physique. “For a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot within the leg), [you can experience] remoted and protracted swelling, redness, and/or ache within the calf or behind the knee. For pulmonary embolism (blood clot within the lungs), frequent signs can be chest ache, persistent shortness of breath (particularly with out exercise), and the sensation of your coronary heart racing might all be signs that warrant additional analysis,” Dr. Nwankwo mentioned.

woman holding her leg

“As an OB-GYN, the folks I fear about probably the most are these over the age of 35 and people with particular threat components that enhance their threat of creating blood clots. These threat components embrace being a smoker, having hypertension, or having a private or household historical past of blood clots,” Dr. Mbaye mentioned.

Yow will discover extra detailed details about blood clot signs right here.

Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Pictures

“The principle factor the typical contraception consumer can do to lower their threat of blood clots is admittedly simply to attempt to reside a wholesome life-style. Do not smoke, attempt to be energetic extra days every week than not, keep hydrated, and eat a balanced food plan with a rainbow of veggies and fruits. It is also vital to let your prescriber know of any adjustments to your medical historical past, as a result of typically it’s going to change whether or not or not we advocate contraception tablets or one thing else,” Dr. Mbaye mentioned.

woman heading to a yoga class

Halfpoint Pictures / Getty Pictures

All this being mentioned, Dr. Nwankwo needs folks to grasp that every one drugs have dangers. “Focus on together with your supplier what the dangers are for you based mostly in your medical historical past. Hormonal contraception will not be with out dangers and potential negative effects, that’s why it’s vital to be recommended on it earlier than beginning,” she mentioned.

a woman taking a pill

“I wish to reiterate that any treatment — together with ones thought of very protected like aspirin, ibuprofen, Tylenol, Benadryl, and others — have severe dangers hooked up to them. Ensuring you’re educated on what these dangers are is crucial factor you are able to do earlier than beginning any drug, together with contraception. Your private and household medical historical past can be crucial since that may have a huge impact on whether or not your supplier recommends one thing,” Dr. Mbaye mentioned.

Olena Ruban / Getty Pictures

So, for those who’re contemplating taking contraception, Dr. Nwankwo advises you to first share the explanation you wish to take it together with your physician. For instance, is it only for contraception, or is it for interval ache and/or heavy bleeding? “When you have sure sorts of migraines, then chances are you’ll be at increased threat for blood clots with estrogen-containing strategies. Perceive the potential negative effects of various strategies. Focus on which methodology makes probably the most sense in your life-style and which strategies are simplest for you. In terms of contraception, it’s not one measurement suits all.”

A stock image of a patient with a doctor

Kokouu / Getty Pictures

Moreover, to get extra data on contraception as a complete and the potential impacts it will probably have in your mind, BuzzFeed additionally spoke to Sarah E. Hill, PhD, analysis psychologist, and creator of the e-book This Is Your Mind on Delivery Management.

A headshot of author Sarah E. Hill

After spending most of her profession learning ladies, ladies’s brains, and the influence of girls’s intercourse hormones on numerous issues, Sarah realized that regardless of all of this experience, she didn’t have the primary clue about the best way the contraception tablet might have an effect on ladies’s psychology. And he or she’s not alone on this.

She instructed BuzzFeed, “I didn’t give it some thought in any respect till I went off the tablet. I used to be on it for greater than a decade and after I went off it, I felt like I awakened from a nap that I didn’t know that I used to be taking. I felt three-dimensional and alive in a means that I hadn’t in years. That is what led me to start diving into the analysis wanting on the results of the tablet on ladies’s brains and the ways in which they expertise the world.”

Sarah E. Hill / By way of

And all of that learning and analysis finally paid off, in that she was in a position to dedicate herself to discovering out extra about contraception and the best way it might (or couldn’t) influence our brains.

A getty image of a brain scan

“I feel that the medical group is effectively conscious of the consequences of the tablet on ladies’s our bodies from the neck down. Like, they appear to have a deal with on the bodily negative effects. Coronary heart circumstances, strokes, and the like. However there was nearly NO consideration paid to the consequences of the tablet on the best way that girls suppose, really feel, and expertise the world,” she mentioned.

“It is because medical analysis is concentrated on security and efficacy (will it kill you? Does it work?) with little consideration paid to experiential results and high quality of life,” she mentioned. “With the tablet, this stuff are enormous, since hormones are a key participant in how our brains create the expertise of being the individual that we’re.”

“It’s been a difficulty that has been nearly utterly ignored by the medical group till very lately. And since the analysis into that is nonetheless comparatively new, it isn’t being taken severely sufficient by these within the medical group.”

Andriy Onufriyenko / Getty Pictures

In terms of misconceptions about contraception, Sarah mentioned that the assumption that it solely impacts your ovaries is an enormous one. “That is bodily unattainable. Shutting off ladies’s intercourse hormones (which is what you do while you give ladies the tablet) has an influence on each cell within the physique that has hormone receptors. And that is true of most cells within the mind. So altering ladies’s hormones adjustments ladies. It doesn’t simply have an effect on whether or not they’re able to get pregnant or not.”

The uterus being seen via X-ray type technology

As well as, Sarah thinks that everybody who takes contraception wants to concentrate on the bodily dangers — like being at an elevated threat for blood clots and stroke.

“I feel that it’s essential for ladies to additionally pay attention to the vary of psychological negative effects related to tablet use. Issues like adjustments within the threat of creating nervousness, despair, sexual dysfunction, PTSD-like symptomology, and even adjustments in issues like associate preferences (the tablet can influence who ladies are drawn to) and the power to construct muscle from figuring out (the tablet appears to decrease ladies’s potential to construct muscle from power coaching — doubtless because of lowered testosterone),” she mentioned.

Magicmine / Getty Pictures/iStockphoto

Lastly, Sarah does not suppose there’s any purpose to desert contraception at this level. However we do have to take it extra severely. “We have now been tremendous cavalier about being prepared to alter ladies’s intercourse hormones within the identify of contraception, pimples administration, and to handle interval signs. We don’t have to abandon hormonal contraception, however we do have to take it extra severely. Altering ladies’s hormones adjustments ladies. And it is a large deal. It’s time we deal with it as one.”

Stock image of a pack of birth control pills

Ian Hooton / Getty Pictures/Science Photograph Library RF

So, there you may have it! Knowledgeable consent across the drugs we put in our our bodies is the least we will hope for. Thanks to Sydney for sharing her story, and to Sarah Hill, Dr. Mare Mbaye, and Dr. Cordelia Nwankwo for sharing helpful data for our readers.

Received every other questions round contraception? Tell us within the feedback.

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