Rare Risks with Birth Control Pills

Dr. Vivien Brown, MDCM, CCFP, FCFP, NCMP, discusses rare risks with the Pill.

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Dr. Vivien Brown, MDCM, CCFP, FCFP, NCMP, discusses rare risks with the Pill.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Vivien Brown, MDCM, CCFP, FCFP, NCMP VIDEO TITLE :
Duration: 2 minutes, 26 seconds

So when we look at guidelines around risk and birth control pills what does rare risk really mean? How do we interpret that for ourselves?

And we have guidelines from the World Health Organization that says a rare risk means one to 10 per 10,000 women. That’s a very small number, we know for example that in the general public the risk of a blood clot in general is about four per 10,000.

The risk when you’re on any of the low dose pills is nine to 10 per 10,000 - still a rare risk. When you’re pregnant the risk goes up to 30 per 10 thousand. And just after pregnancy when you first have your baby, in the postpartum period the risk is 300 per 10,000. So being on the pill does carry a certain risk but that risk is less than when you’re pregnant or when you have a baby.

What we do know that is risk has been associated with lower estrogen doses and risk has not really correlated with different progesterones. That means the pills that are on the market today are all very similar.

We do know that your greatest risk is in the first year of starting the pill or if you stop the pill for more than four weeks and go back to it. It’s thought that the pill may be unmasking a risk that you have inherently in your system and that’s why once you’ve gotten throught the first year, staying on the piil is less risky than starting and stopping.

Everyone is different and it is really important for you to discuss your issues, your risk profile with your family doctor or primary care practitioner.

Presenter: Dr. Vivien Brown, Family Doctor, Toronto, ON

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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