Can I take the contraceptive pill and smoke? How dangerous is it?
Your daughter or you are on the pill and smoking? You have heard that there are dangers and want to inform yourself? Then this is the right place for you.
This article explains the dangers of smoking in relation to the pill. Despite our goal of helping people stop smoking, we write objectively and base our information on scientific findings. Nobody should be compulsively persuaded. It is up to each individual to decide whether smoking is good for him or her or not.
Below we have listed possible side effects and explained how the use of birth control pills as a contraceptive while consuming cigarettes can affect your health.
Smoking and taking the birth control pill has many risks
Birth control pills are one of the most commonly used contraceptives.
The vast majority of women who take the contraceptive pill have little or no side effects. Some even find benefits that go beyond contraception. These are, for example, smoother and softer skin and fewer acne outbreaks.
Studies have shown that smoking cigarettes with the pill significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular side effects. In other words:
As a smoker, you increase the risk of having
if you use the birth control pill.
All these cardiovascular events can be fatal.
For this reason, it is important that you let your doctor know if you are a smoker. Starting the pill without informing your gynecologist exposes you to a significant risk.
This is especially important if you are over 35 years old. Smokers in this age group have the highest risk of suffering cardiovascular side effects from the use of the contraceptive pill. Please consult your doctor for an alternative form of contraception.
These options include most barrier methods such as diaphragms and cervical caps or other contraceptives.
If you want to stick to the pill, you should stop smoking. Our weekly tips will make the first step easier for you:
What do scientific studies say?
Cigarettes and taking the pill are a dangerous combination for several reasons. The biggest danger is the effect on your veins and heart.
If you are taking birth control pills, the combination of estrogens and progestins in any pill can have a number of effects on your body. The most obvious and desirable effect is that the body no longer releases eggs, making it more difficult for you to get pregnant.
The hormones used in birth control pills can also have a small effect on the thickness of your blood. Studies show that the hormones in birth control pills can make your blood thicker.
For example, a 1980 study found that women who took oral contraceptives had a higher average hematocrit (a ratio of red blood cells in the blood to total blood volume) than women who didn’t use some form of hormonal birth control. This means that your heart must work harder to pump blood through your body. It also means that you have a higher risk of suffering a blood clot. A blood clot forms which can cause serious health problems if it gets into your heart, brain or lungs.
All in all, this effect is rather small. The increase in blood thickness from birth control pills is not something that most women have to worry about – in fact, it is less than the increase in blood thickness that most women will experience during pregnancy.
If smoking is included in the equation, it quickly becomes dangerous. Just like birth control pills, smoking can make the blood thicker. In a 2014 study, researchers found that smokers have higher hematocrit and hemoglobin levels than non-smokers.
The difference is that while birth control pills can easily increase the risk of strokes and other cardiovascular side effects, cigarettes are much more dangerous. If you add them, the risk that you have a serious, life-threatening heart problem becomes very high, very fast.
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Did you know that these consequences are related to smoking and the birth control?
There are many reasons to quit smoking. Here are just a few of the consequences that need to be considered:
- Female smokers die almost seven years earlier than non-smokers.
- Smokers are four times more likely than non-smokers to develop lung cancer.
- Female smokers are twice as likely as non-smokers to develop cervical cancer.
- Smokers have twice as many heart conditions – those who smoke two or more packs a day have three times as many.
- Smoking is also associated with cancers of the mouth, throat, pancreas and bladder.
- It seems that smoking stimulates the recurrence of genital warts.
- Smoking is associated with an early menopause.
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