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Contraceptives: birth control pills can also be dangerous for some women


Anti-baby pill facts: For some women, the contraceptive is dangerous
When it comes to contraception, most Germans use the contraceptive pill. For some women, however, taking the drug poses a health risk. This can increase the risk of life-threatening thrombosis. Health experts explain the benefits and harms of taking the pill.

Germans prefer contraception with the pill
Contraception with pill and condom is preferred by most Germans. A study by the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) a few years ago found that around 53 percent of sexually active adults use the pill for contraception and around 37 percent use condoms.

However, taking the drug is associated with unpleasant side effects. In addition, modern contraceptive pills pose a high risk of thrombosis. Danish researchers also reported that the pill increases the risk of brain tumors. In addition to medicines, there are also hormone-free alternatives that cause little or no damage to health.

Newer preparations carry a higher risk of thrombosis
The health insurance company AOK reports in a current message about the advantages and disadvantages of the pill, which according to the experts is one of the safest methods of contraception. This applies to both newer and older versions, which are often referred to as "first and second generation pills".

However, there is one important difference: According to the information, taking newer preparations with the progestogen variants drospirenone, gestodene or desogestrel is associated with a higher risk of blood clots in the veins. According to the experts, this is not the case with older, proven progestogens. "It is therefore important to check which progestogen is included in the pill's package insert," said Dr. med. Kai Kolpatzik, head of the prevention department in the AOK federal association.

Many young women receive problematic remedies
As stated in the message, gynecologists who prescribe hormonal contraceptives are also advised to be aware of the risk of thrombosis in patients. "Especially when it comes to the first prescription for young women, tried-and-tested preparations should be prescribed, the risk of which is lower," says Kolpatzik.

However, the contraceptive pill is often prescribed despite the risk of thrombosis. An analysis by the AOK Scientific Institute (WIdO) last year showed that around two thirds of the under-20s insured with AOK were prescribed the problematic preparations.

Important information summarized
With thrombosis, a blood clot (thrombus) forms in a blood vessel - usually in deep leg or pelvic veins. This blood clot narrows or clogs the vessel, which can lead to serious consequential damage. For example, if parts of the blood clot get loose and get into the lungs, this can cause pulmonary embolism.

Undetected thrombosis quickly becomes a life-threatening condition. In Germany alone, an estimated 100,000 people die as a result of venous thrombosis.

The AOK has summarized important information about the pill in a fact box. It was developed in collaboration with the Harding Center for Risk Competence at the Max Planck Institute for Educational Research in Berlin. "We want women to be aware of the possible risks and be able to make an informed decision," said Professor Gerd Gigerenzer, director of the Harding Center.

Natural contraceptive methods without side effects
There are various hormone-free alternatives available for women who want to use contraception without a pill. One of them is contraception with the temperature method, which, however, requires a regular lifestyle. The woman has to measure and record her body temperature every morning at the same time as soon as she wakes up.

Another alternative, which also includes body temperature, is the "symptothermal method", in which the woman measures her body temperature daily and at the same time observes changes in her vaginal fluid. With such natural contraceptive methods, attempts are made to determine the time of ovulation as precisely as possible in order to distinguish between fertile and sterile days. On the fertile days, the couples then have to forego sex or use condoms. (ad)

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Video: Why some women are questioning hormonal birth control (December 2021).