The Dangers of Nicotine and Birth Control Pills

There are many things in the world that don't mix well.  Some people get sick if they mix wine and beer. Drinking and driving don't ever mix.  A combination that people don't necessary realize is dangerous, however, is nicotine and birth control pills.  This combination can lead to many problems and complications in women - and women need to be aware of these potential risks to their health.

Cigarettes, Alone, Cause Problems

Cigarettes, by themselves, are hard on the heart.  Nicotine causes high blood pressure and an increased heart rate.  This puts extra stress on the blood vessels.  When a woman is on the pill, this adds even more stress to the blood vessels because of the extra estrogen.  Those who are light smokers have less chance of having heart issues, but they should still be aware of the side effects, including heart attacks, blood clots and strokes, that smoking while on the pill can create. 

A Deadly Combination

Anyone who smokes more than 15 cigarettes a day should be very careful about using birth control pills.  The risks increase for women who are over 35 years of age and for those who smoke a great deal.  One study showed that women increase their chances of having a first time heartache 30 times if they smoke 25 cigarettes or more each day while taking birth control pills.  This is true whether they are taking high dose pills or the low dose variety.

Even women who are not at high risk, and have not reached the age of 35, should be careful about combining nicotine and birth control pills.  If a woman has certain risk factors, including a family history of heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, these can be very dangerous when combined with smoking and birth control pills.  One problem is clot formation which can occur both in the woman's veins and in her lungs.

Know the Signs

Warning signs of potential problems from nicotine and birth control pills include very severe pains in the calves, legs, abdomen or chest and headaches that feel like migraines and last a very long time.  It is important to take care of yourself and to do everything possible to ensure that you are treating your body well.  Everyone knows that nicotine is dangerous for your health - but most people don't realize that this danger multiplies with birth control pill use.  This research emphasizes yet one more reason to try to quit smoking.  Learn the facts and take care of your body - so that it can take care of you for years to come!



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