Ortho Evra, also known as the birth control patch, is one of the most convenient forms of birth control. The patch works by adhering to the skin and releasing hormones into your bloodstream that prevent pregnancy. However, all prescription medications come with risks and dangers. The birth control patch is no exception.
Blood clots are just that, bits of blood that clot together, forming a clump in the bloodstream. These clots occur frequently in the legs, creating pain and discomfort. If left to linger, the clots can travel to the lungs, heart or brain, causing complications, like a heart attack or a stroke that may result in death. Women using hormonal forms of birth control are at a heightened risk for developing these dangerous clots because the additional estrogen introduced into their bodies acts as a coagulant. According to a 2005 report published by MSNBC Health, women using the patch are at a three times greater risk of developing blood clots than women using the pill. This is due to the higher amounts of estrogen that the patch delivers to the bloodstream.
According to Ortho Evra’s prescribing information, women who use the birth control patch may be at greater risk for developing gallbladder disease during their lifetimes. If you do develop gallbladder disease, it is likely that you will need surgery to remove the gallbladder. Furthermore, if you are already exhibiting signs of gallbladder disease, using the patch may speed development of this condition. If you have a family history of gallbladder disease or are otherwise at risk for developing the disease, it may be wise to go with an alternative form of birth control.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a serious danger for women taking the birth control patch. Hypertension, particularly when combined with blood clots, puts you at a much greater risk for stroke or heart attack. However, women over the age of 35 and smokers are at the greatest risk. If you smoke, you will be advised to quit before taking Ortho Evra.
Minor Side Effects
While the serious dangers of the birth control patch are rare, minor side effects are likely. Headache, diarrhea, skin irritation, minor weight gain, spotting and fatigue are among these more common side effects. Some side effects, on the other hand, may point to a more serious issue, according to the Mayo Clinic. See your doctor if you are having problems seeing and are experiencing persistent leg or chest pain. Call her if you show signs of depression, have frequent headaches or cough up blood.
- Female white pants with drawing image by Oleg from Fotolia.com