Who should be careful about taking estrogen-containing birth control pills?

Dawn Marcus
Certain women should avoid estrogen-containing birth control pills because of increased risk of serious side effects:
  • Smokers -- because of a higher risk of stroke
  • Individuals who have migraine with aura -- because of a higher risk
           of stroke
  • Those with a personal or family history of blood clots -- estrogen
           also increases the risk of clotting
  • Women with breast cancer or a family history of breast cancer --
           estrogen can increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
           Interestingly, taking birth control pills that include both
           estrogen and a progestin has been shown to reduce your risk
           for developing ovarian cancer.
Progesterone-only birth control pills (sometimes referred to as the mini pill), progesterone-only injection (Depo-Provera), and an intrauterine device (IUD) that releases the synthetic progestogen hormone levonorgestrel (Mirena) are less effective than combination pills at preventing ovulation, and may work as contraceptives by altering cervical mucous thickness. In general, progesterone-only preparations are less likely to influence menstrual migraine compared with estrogen-containing pills.
The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menopause (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

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The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menopause (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

Migraines are a common, controllable type of headache that affects one in every six women, more than 20 million in the United States alone. The Woman’s Migraine Toolkit helps readers take charge of...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.