Every medication can result in side effects, and birth control pills are no exception. In most cases, the side effects are minor and resolve once the patient’s body has adjusted to the medicine. Unfortunately, women who smoke and use oral contraceptives do have a higher risk of a serious complication—blood clots. This is why your gynecologist will ask if you smoke before prescribing hormonal birth control pills.
The risk of blood clots among women who use birth control pills appears to be higher in patients over 35 years of age and those who smoke 15 or more cigarettes daily. Although quitting smoking is the healthiest course of action, your gynecologist can recommend non-hormonal birth control options if you aren’t ready to quit yet. These include barrier methods and the copper IUD. It’s also considered safe to use hormonal birth control that only contains progestin, not estrogen. The implant, the progestin-based IUD, and the shot are all free of estrogen.
If you live near Washington, D.C. and you’re looking for birth control methods that are safe for you, you can call (202) 659-9403. The gynecologists at Washington Surgi-Clinic encourage our patients to ask questions and openly share their concerns.