High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, 50 percent of adults who have high blood pressure are women. Certain medications are known to increase the risk of this problem. Do birth control pills cause high blood pressure? Here’s what all women should know about using the pill and the risk of increased blood pressure levels.
The Link Between Birth Control Pills and Blood Pressure
Birth control pills can cause women to experience an increase in blood pressure levels. The reason is because the hormones in the pill can cause the blood vessels to narrow, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is important to note that the risk of high blood pressure is higher among women who are older or who have been on the birth control pill for a long period of time.
How to Reduce the Risk of High Blood Pressure on the Pill
Women who use the pill for contraception should follow a well-balanced diet and do 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise five or more times a week. It is also important to note that the type of birth control pill that you use can determine whether or not you experience this problem. Birth control pills with high levels of estrogen are more likely to increase blood pressure levels, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Preexisting High Blood Pressure and the Birth Control Pill
Women with preexisting high blood pressure are generally not recommended to use the birth control pill, especially if they are overweight or 35 years old or older and smoke cigarettes. It is important to discuss all of your options with your doctor if you have found that the pill has caused an increase in blood pressure levels.
If You Experience High Blood Pressure While Using the Pill
While using the birth control pill, you are recommended to have your blood pressure taken once every six months. If you do experience an increase in your levels, it is recommended that you consider an alternate method of contraception. Women who experience mild to moderate changes in blood pressure may want to talk to their doctors about switching to a progestin-only birth control pill.
What Birth Control Methods Don’t Cause High Blood Pressure?
It is important to note that the birth control patch and the vaginal ring are also not recommended to women who have high blood pressure. A progestin-only method of birth control, such as Depo-Provera, or a non-hormonal method, such as the intrauterine device, is a more ideal option. To find out what method of contraception is right for you, be sure to talk to your doctor.
Disclaimer: Please note that this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace the diagnosis or treatment of a healthcare professional. If you are concerned about your health, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
American Heart Association, “Blood pressure during childbearing years.”
Mayo Clinic, “Birth Control FAQ: Benefits, risks and choices.”
Mayo Clinic, “Medications and supplements that can raise your blood pressure.”