Birth Control Pills Contraceptives and High blood pressure
If you are taking birth
control pills your blood pressure can go high.
In reproductive age 15-45,
many women have normal blood pressure i.e 120/80, as estrogen and progesterone, femal sex
hormones have some protetive effects these hormones save females from cardiovascular problems.
However as women attain menopause, the protective effects of the female hormones dwindles away
exposing them to a variety of health risks.
Birth control pills for women
Birth control pills are the most common adoptive method of
contraception all over world, these pills have saved many women from undesirable pregnancies. These
pills are hormone based and several studies have shown safety and efficacy of these
Are birth control pills and high blood pressure
Birth control pills or oral
contraceptives contain synthetically produced estrogen and progesterone. Some contraceptive
pills only have progesterone. Those pills which have both estrogen and progesterone are more
prone to cause high blood pressure – but only in some women. Other women take contraceptive
pills for years and have no problems with these pills. Studies show that estrogen component of
the combined pills is mainly responsible for high blood pressure although a few studies
conducted by the National Institute of Health have shown that progesterone birth control pills
i.e mini pills, are likely to cause a small increase in diastolic pressure so increasing risk of
stroke and heart attack in women.
Risk of high blood pressure in females taking
contraceptives depends on following factors.
• Age at which oral contraceptives are started: If you are starting
taking contraceptives at or above 35 years then you will have more chances of developing
hypertension.Hence, such women need to check their pressure before starting therapy and monitor it
regularly till pill use is stopped.
• Past history: In women
already having blood pressure related problems, the risk is again high and hence a thorough
medical examination is very important before the start of therapy.
• History of smoking: If you
are a chronic smoker and are also using contraceptives, then most probably you will have problem
of high blood pressure too.
If you have diabetes and you
are taking contraceptives as well, then you may develop hypertension as well with
How women taking
birth control pills can tackle the situation in the presence of the above risk
• If you are above 35 years
then you must get themselves thoroughly examined for present and past medical history and family
history to assess if any other additional risks are present or not. If the blood pressure
examination is normal then contraceptives can be begun. Regular follow up with your consultant
or health care provider is necessary so that high blood pressure can be picked
• Positive history of blood
pressure: In women who already have high blood pressure before the age of 35 years or have
recent past history of blood pressure it’s probably good not to use pills. Other options for
birth control would be a better choice in these cases.
• For Smokers: Smoking
causes damage to the walls of the arteries and narrows their lumen by enhancing process of
atherosclerosis and thus increases the blood pressure. Contraceptives can have a similar effect
by causing fluid retention and thereby will augment the problem. The best thing to do is stop
If you have diabetes and
also taking pills, then you should not only control your diabetes under normal levels but also
regularly check your blood pressure.
For all women taking pills
for birth control, it is essential that they have a regular follow up with their doctor for a
complete physical examination to look for any changes in blood pressure and other things induced
by the long term use of contraceptives like weight gain etc.