Get the Facts – Smoking & Birth Control

Many women find birth control pills to be convenient, non-invasive and effective. One problem with the pill, however, is that the vast majority of women don’t know that the pill does not mix well with smoking. There are many issues that can arise for women who smoke while using the pill, and there are complications that they may experience. These issues are particularly heightened in the teenager population. Teenage girls are one of the major groups that smoke, as they’ve been given the message through the media that it’s a cool thing to do -and they hear that it helps to control weight. At the same time, many teenage girls are using the pill for birth control – but they won’t necessarily know about the health risks involved.

Problems with Cigarettes and the Pill

The pill adds a bit of stress to the blood vessels as it produces extra estrogen in the woman’s body. For a healthy woman, this is not a dangerous issue or something to worry about. For a woman who smokes, however, this increased stress is combined with smoking issues. Nicotine causes high blood pressure and also increases the heart rate. This puts stress on the blood vessels. Therefore, a woman who smokes while on the pill is overexerting her blood vessels in two ways. This combination can cause heart attacks, blood clots, and strokes. This becomes even more likely for women who are heavy smokers.

When the Risk Increases

There are a number of risk factors that make it particularly dangerous to smoke while taking the pill. Smokers who have more than 15 cigarettes a day greatly increase their risks of a heart attack or other issue while taking birth control pills. These risks are also greater if you are over 35 years of age while smoking and taking the pill. One recent study showed that women increased their risk of having a heart attack 30 times when they smoked 25 cigarettes a day while using the pill. You may also put yourself at higher risk if you have a family history of heart disease, if you already have high cholesterol or if you have high blood pressure.

Pay Attention to the Signs

There are a number of warning signs that will let you know that you are in danger. If you do smoke and take the pill, and you intend to continue to do both, you should know about these warning signs. If you have bad pains in the calves, legs, abdomen or chest, you might be experiencing a reaction to this combination of cigarettes and pills. If you find yourself with frequent migraines that last for a long time, it can also be a warning sign to seek medical attention. Certainly, the easiest way to prevent these issues is to avoid combining cigarettes and birth control pills. You will do yourself many favors by quitting smoking and avoiding the risks posed by this combination.

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