According to the Center for Disease Control, about 12 percent of women in the US ages 15 to 49 are currently taking birth control pills. Although birth control pills are marketed as a method of avoiding pregnancy (contraception), it can also provide other health benefits. Some may start taking birth control as early as 13-15 years old depending on the severity of their PMS. Women who experience heavy, painful periods often find relief from taking birth control, however, relief is usually temporary.
Like any form of medication, there are risks and side effects. Most of the time, side effects of birth control are mild and easily managed. Side effects and risks from taking birth control don’t usually cause any really issues unless it is taken long term (longer than 5 consecutive years).
What are the Risks?
The most common risk of birth control pills is blood clots. The risk for developing blood clots varies across different types and dosages of the pill. For example, some women may take a “progestin-only” pill, which is a low-dose form of birth control not known to cause many side effects. However, for women that take higher dose combination pills, or pills that include both estrogen and progestin, the risk for developing blood clots can double or even triple.
Fibroids and Birth Control Pills
There is no direct evidence that shows birth control pills can contribute to the development of fibroids. Fibroids are unpredictable and have many different causes, however, there may be a connection between the hormonal imbalance that occurs when stopping birth control and fibroid growth.
If you experience heavy, painful periods that last for more than 10 days, it could be due to uterine fibroids. Although fibroids are noncancerous, they have the potential to cause complications if left untreated.
Symptoms of Fibroids
As mentioned earlier, fibroids are very unpredictable. The symptoms can vary from women to women depending on age, overall state of health, and lifestyle. Also, the symptoms that occur due to uterine fibroids can vary based on the size and number of the fibroids. Many women with very large fibroids experience symptoms that interfere with other aspects of life such as painful sex or frequent urination.
For some women, especially those going through menopause, signs and symptoms of fibroids may seem non-existent. However, it’s important to know what to look for in case you do start experiencing symptoms, such as:
- Heavy and prolonged menstruation between or during your periods
- Anemia, which can lead to fatigue
- Pain during intercourse
- Frequent urination
- Constipation and/or bloating
- Pain in your pelvis or lower back
- Increased menstrual cramping
- Stomach swelling
Treatment for Fibroids
It’s important to do proper research before you decide to get on birth control. Although hormonal contraception like the pill can be very effective at preventing pregnancy, it can also cause some unwanted side effects, and even increase your risk for certain health conditions long term. If you know you have fibroids, or think you may be at risk, we encourage you to explore all possible options with a medical professional before you decide.
If you are in need of fibroid treatment, at USA Fibroid Centers we exclusively treat uterine fibroids through the use of non-surgical treatment called embolization. Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a safe, effective, non-surgical method of fibroid treatment that is done in an outpatient setting. Best of all, UFE allows for the preservation of the uterus, which is great for anyone that may want to have children in the future.
At USA Fibroid Centers, we have clinics located across the country, with various interventional radiologists and fibroid experts to help you find lasting relief. Our treatment is also more affordable than other fibroid treatment options as it is covered by most insurance plans and does not require a hospital stay. Schedule a consultation with us today to find out if UFE is right for you.