|Hormonal contraceptives are still a low risk method of birth control|
This week, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study in which hormonal contraception was found to be linked to stroke and heart attack. Contraceptive options with higher doses of ethynyl estradiol, the estrogen compound found in most hormonal birth control, had higher risk of stroke and heart attack. However, at the same time the NEJM published an editorial that stressed that overall, risks were still VERY low, especially compared to the risks of unintended pregnancy.
Said the editorial’s author: “The amount of attention paid to these minuscule risks, and what are likely to be very small differences in vascular risk, detracts attention from more salient issues, like preventing unwanted pregnancy.”
Currently, the CDC classifies all hormonal methods as either “no restriction for the use of this method” or “the benefits of this method outweigh the risks.” For the majority of women this study is unlikely to change that, though women with high blood pressure are urged to avoid hormonal birth control.
Hormonal birth control remains a highly effective way for sexually active women, including young women, to prevent unintended pregnancy.