The Risks of Smoking While on Hormonal Birth Control
Patients that smoke while on hormonal birth control are at risk for developing serious health problems such as stroke, blood clots, or heart attack. While the connection between smoking, birth control, and serious health complications has been well documented, patients are hesitant to give up smoking while on the pill, the patch, the shot, or the ring. Studies show that 8 out of 10 women will continue smoking while on birth control even after being warned of the risks and adverse side effects that may be associated with combining the two.
Knowing the Facts and the Risks
While many women are aware of the risks of smoking while on birth control, many are not. According to the survey, nearly half of all women reported that they had not talked to their healthcare provider about the effects of smoking on birth control, and most women do not know that there is a safe and highly effective alternative birth control method for female smokers.
New Research Points to Safer Birth Control Options for Smokers
New research conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggests that while many birth control pills pose a serious risk to smokers, newer pills with specific types of hormones may be safer for smokers. The research focused on evaluating birth control pills and their effect on women in the short and long term. Evaluating how contraceptives will affect a woman’s future health is imperative in designing safe and effective birth control methods.
Effects of Smoking While on Birth Control
The study followed two groups of young, healthy women that took birth control pills – half smokers and half non-smokers. Researchers found that smokers’ hearts were pumping less blood, and the blood vessels were more constricted – resisting healthy blood flow. Women taking third generation oral contraceptives exhibited better overall blood flow and heart function than those on second generation contraceptives, which indicates that new forms of birth control may actually be safer and advisable for smokers.
Consulting a Physician to Determine the Best Method of Birth Control for You
When discerning which method of birth control is best for you, it is important to make an informed decision based on all available information. Discuss all birth control methods with your doctor, and consider asking your doctor for a plan to help you quit smoking. The effects of smoking can have lasting effects on the body, and for women on contraception, it is even more important to avoid smoking. While new contraceptives may be safer and more advisable for smokers, they still pose risks to the woman’s health. If possible, it is best to quit smoking while taking hormonal birth control pills.