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Women's Health Channel
Reported December 6, 2012

Birth Control & Blood Clots

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – As many as 5 million women in the United States may be affected by polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition in which women have an imbalance of female sex hormones, according to the National Institutes of Health.

It is usually treated with combined oral contraceptives to regulate menstrual cycles and to help with acne and excessive hair growth associated with the condition. However, studies have shown that women with PCOS who take oral contraceptives have double the risk of developing blood clots.

Now, a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal backs that up. Researchers from the U.S. and Canada looked at more than 87,000 women aged 18 to 46 years in the US, half with PCOS and half without, to determine whether women with PCOS taking birth control pills are at increased risk of blood clots. They excluded women with a history of heart disease, cancer and previous blood clots.

"We found a two-fold increased risk of venous thromboembolism among women with PCOS taking combined oral contraceptives compared with matched controls," said Steven Bird, lead author and pharmacoepidemiologist with the Food and Drug Administration.
Not only that, the researchers also found that women with PCOS who were not taking birth control had 1.5 times the risk of blood clots in comparison to women without the disorder.

PCOS can cause menstrual cycle changes, cysts in the ovaries, trouble getting pregnant and other health changes, and risk factors for heart disease such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity and others are double among women with PCOS compared with women without the disorder.

But Bird and his co-authors say they think physicians should consider the increased risk when prescribing contraceptive therapy to women with PCOS.

SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association Journal December, 2012

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