A Deadly Mix
If you are weighing your birth control options, you'll certainly need to take many factors into consideration. One of these factors is lifestyle issues. For instance, if you plan to have multiple partners, you should find a birth control method that will also protect you against STDs. Similarly, if you are considering using birth control pills and you smoke - you should be well educated before choosing this birth control option. Here's why.
Cigarettes On The Body
Cigarettes, by their very nature, are hard on your heart. Nicotine causes a lot of side effects in your body, including high blood pressure and an increase in the heart rate. This stresses the blood vessels.
Cigarettes Combined with the Pill
The extra estrogen in the body due to the pill creates stress on the blood vessels as well. Therefore, the combination of the pill and cigarettes can seriously stress the blood vessels and cause heart issues, blood clots, strokes and more. These issues are less likely for someone who is a light smoker, but they still put themselves at higher risk for heart issues than does someone on the pill who doesn't smoke.
Heavy Smoking and the Pill
Anyone who smokes 15 or more cigarettes a day should consider using another form of birth control. The heart risks and other issues increase even more if the woman is over the age of 35 and if she smokes a great deal. Many studies have shown the link between cigarette smoking, the pill and heart attacks. One study even showed that women are 30 times more likely to have a first time heart attack if they smoke 25 or more cigarettes a day while using birth control pills. The studies have found these results both for high dose pills and for the low dose choices.
There are other risk factors that can be very dangerous for women as well when mixed with cigarettes and the pill. Birth control pills and cigarettes become even more potentially dangerous for women who have a family history of heart disease, who have high cholesterol, and who have high blood pressure. There are a number of warning signs that women can watch for if they do smoke and take the pill. They may experience terrible pains in their legs, calves, abdomen or chest. They may also have headaches that feel like migraine headaches and that last quite a long time. These should be warning signs if you smoke and take the pill - and you should see a doctor quickly if you have any of these symptoms.
Certainly, there are many forms of birth control on the market today. If you smoke and want to use birth control, you might be better served finding another type of birth control that works better with your cigarette smoking. Or, you might decide to make this the excuse you need to give up smoking!