Analysis

Australian doctors instructed not to prescribe hormonal birth control with ‘unacceptably high risks’

birth control, abortion, contraceptives

Doctors in Australia have been instructed not to prescribe Microgynon 50, a contraceptive pill that is said to have an “unacceptably high” risk of dangerous blood clots. Because it contains more synthetic estrogen than other birth control pills, it is said to have a higher risk, and therefore, the not-for-profit group Therapeutic Guidelines, which promotes the quality use of medicines in Australia, says it should not be prescribed under any circumstances.

“What we’re saying now is that contraceptive pills should have a maximum of 35 micrograms of ethinylestradiol,” Dr. Deborah Bateson told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). “We wouldn’t advise going up to the 50 micrograms. That advice had already been around, but it’s important to make sure that everyone’s up to date on the risks.”

The estrogen in hormonal birth control can increase the risk of blood clots in the legs or lungs, which can cause a pulmonary embolism. If left untreated, this can be fatal. Yet it’s far from the only risk associated with birth control.

READ: 10 risks of hormonal birth control that every woman should know

Studies have found that hormonal birth control can negatively impact women’s mental health, with one study even finding that women using hormonal birth control have triple the risk of suicide. Other known risks include pulmonary embolism, heart attack or stroke, numerous cancers, potential infertility, as well as numerous potential contraindications. And too often, women are prescribed birth control without being properly warned of what they’re risking first.

Some women have lost their lives from the side effects of hormonal birth control, like those mentioned here and here as well as here. Many were young women, some of whom may not have known the significance of the risks involved in using hormonal birth control.

Many women are seeking alternatives to hormonal birth control for health reasons, not necessarily religious ones. Women deserve to know the risks associated with the use of hormonal birth control so they can make informed decisions.

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