A new manuscript published in Endocrinology, a journal published by the Endocrine Society, shows that women taking hormonal birth control pills may be at an increased risk of fatal blood clots if they contract COVID-19. The report was co-authored by Dr. Daniel Spratt of Maine Medical Center and Dr. Rachel Buchsbaum of Tufts University School of Medicine.
Estrogen, which is a key component in the birth control pill, is closely linked to blood clots (also known as thrombosis). Recent reports show that blood clots are also posing a significant danger to many patients with COVID, with one study in Amsterdam finding that nearly one-third of hospitalized COVID patients had complications from blood clots.
According to the Endocrinology report, “COC [combined oral contraceptive] use is associated with a 2- to 6-fold increase in risk for VTEs [venous thromboembolic events]. The risk for stroke is increased in young women from about 4 to about 8 in 100,000 women per year.” In short, taking oral contraceptives like the pill only increases the dangers and risks of COVID-19.
“During this pandemic, we need additional research to determine if women who become infected with the coronavirus during pregnancy should receive anticoagulation therapy or if women taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy should discontinue them,” said Dr. Spratt in a press release. “Research that helps us understand how the coronavirus causes blood clots may also provide us with new knowledge regarding how blood clots form in other settings and how to prevent them.”
This isn’t the first time that the birth control pill has been exposed as a health risk or potential health risk. The pill increases the chance of a blood clot two to four times, yet few women realize that they are at risk. Unfortunately, there are many stories of women who were either killed or injured after experiencing this dangerous side effect. However, there is no reason for anyone who wants to avoid pregnancy to put their health at risk. Options like natural family planning offer a completely safe and effective alternative to hormonal birth control, without any harmful side effects.
Editor’s Note, 3/22/21: This article has been updated to reflect the potential thrombosis risks noted in the study.
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