Can the birth control pill cause a stroke?

Can the birth control pill cause a stroke?

In our previous piece we took a negative stance on birth control’s potential harmful correlation with strokes in females. See our piece: Today we offer the counterpoint argument.

Female Deaths in Stroke and Birth Control in America 

According to the data in the National Library of Medicine, 780,000 people in the United States suffer from strokes (15% are life threatening), and of those who die from strokes, 60% are women.

As such, studies have begun to investigate the relationship between susceptibility to strokes and women, particularly the type of birth control used by women. Some studies have found  that women who use oral contraceptives or the patch are twice as likely to have a stroke than those who use other forms of birth control.

Others have separated these findings into several age groups: under 20 years old, 20-40 years old, and over 40 years old.

Teenagers are at a generally lower risk of stroke.

Although estrogen in birth control pills may increase the likelihood of having a stroke. The risk of having a stroke for teenagers is relatively low as long as they maintain a low dose of oral contraceptives (less than 50mg). In fact, many pill companies now design their pills to be lower than 50 mg. So many pills are relatively safe. In contrast, if teenagers do not take any type of  birth control. There will be a higher risk of getting pregnant or of facing hormonal imbalance.. Students hence have their own responsibility to balance the risks of getting a stroke and being pregnant.

In addition, women in the 20-40 age group represent the majority of the customers of oral contraceptives or patches.

They are also more likely to have unhealthy habits. Such as smoking or drinking and pre-existing health conditions like blood clotting disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome, etc. Considering  all these factors, they tend to be more at risk  of having a stroke while taking oral contraceptives. Therefore, they should consult their doctors or take more precautions  before choosing these two aforementioned birth control methods. 

Woman working in home office

Lastly, for women over 40, there is a lower possibility of them having a stroke due to their form of birth control. But have a higher chance of having a stroke due to their age.

The reason for this is that women over 40 often choose a more permanent way of birth control such as through  surgery. And fewer use pills or patches. Hence, birth control is less of a consideration when looking at the reasons behind why women aged 40 and up have a stroke. In a nutshell, the relationship drawn between birth control methods and deaths due to stroke may be overstated. 

In conclusion, the youth are not affected severely by birth control. Moreover, healthy, middle-aged women often still take birth control without negative repercussions.

Moreover, for older women, they tend to choose a more efficient way to avoid pregnancy. So there is a lower chance of getting a stroke due to birth control. Regardless of the form of medication, it is necessary to weigh the risks and benefits before consuming it. So as to make an informed decision depending on their needs and conditions.

Written by Katherine Tang

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Works Cited 

Bushnell, Cheryl D. “Stroke in women: risk and prevention throughout the lifespan.” Neurologic clinics vol. 26,4 (2008): 1161-76, xi. doi:10.1016/j.ncl.2008.05.009 

DeNoon, J. Daniel. “Experts: Risk of Birth Control Patch overstated.” WebMD. ed#:~:text=The%20deaths%20of%2016%20women,per%204.1%20million%20woman%2Dy ears. Moawad, Heidi. “The Link between Birth Control Pills and Stroke.” Verywell health.,women%20without%20other%20risk%20factors

Can the birth control pill cause a stroke?