BlogThe Story Behind Birth Control and Venous Insufficiency
Birth control pills, which hit the market en masse in 1960, revolutionized how women dealt with conception, and millions of women signed up for a prescription to this new medication. No longer did they have to rely on marginally-effective measures. The “pill” boasted a 95+ efficacy rate. However, it was soon discovered that birth control pills carried some troubling side effects. While many changes have been made to birth control pills, there is still concern about a link between the “pill” and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). However, according to Medicinenet.com, the risk of developing blood clots from oral contraceptives is less than the risk of developing blood clots during pregnancy.
How Birth Control Can Cause Blood Clots
The link between blood clots and birth control medications has been known and studied for decades. Some women have a greater risk than others of developing vein problems while using oral contraceptives than others. These include women with a family history of varicose veins or blood clots, women who smoke and women over the age of 40. It is the female hormone progesterone in birth control medications that causes the increased risk of blood clots.
Common Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency
Venous insufficiency is when blood doesn’t flow back easily to the heart from your legs. This is usually caused by blood clots or a condition called venous insufficiency, which is the underlying cause of varicose veins. Common symptoms include swelling or the legs or ankles (also called edema), leg cramps, weak legs, pain in your legs that gets worse when you stand and a thickening of the skin in your legs and ankles.
Common Symptoms & Complications of DVT
Some of the common symptoms associated with DVT include swelling, pain and redness, particularly in the legs as well as large, visible veins; leg cramps and skin discoloration. This is due to blood clots forming in these enlarged veins, usually in the legs. However, it’s important to note that not everyone experiences symptoms with DVT.
When to See a Vein Doctor
When should you seek medical advice? After all, most women experience tired and achy legs once in a while. It’s a good idea to see a doctor for vein treatment if your symptoms are severe or if your symptoms appear suddenly. DVT and potential resulting blood clots are nothing to take lightly. Approximately one in ten people with untreated DVT develop severe pulmonary embolism, a potentially fatal condition.
VEINatlanta’s Practice in Atlanta Georgia
At VEINatlanta in Atlanta, Georgia, we specialize in treating vein disorders such as DVT and blood clots caused by long-term use of oral contraceptives. To learn more about birth control and DVT, and/or to make an appointment, contact us today!