With this in mind, it’s worth remembering that while there is a small risk of clotting in some individuals who take the AstraZeneca vaccine, this clotting risk is much less than with many other things, including contraceptive pills – and significantly less than the risk of clotting after a COVID-19 infection.
Birth control-related risk of developing a blood clot is quite low. There is a higher risk of developing a blood clot during pregnancy than there is from taking hormonal birth control.
Here's what we know: blood clots are very rare and have always been a factor in contraception conversations. People on combined (estrogen-containing) hormonal birth control have a higher risk of blood clots than people who are not.
Hormonal birth control, a medication that millions of people in the U.S. use, can also raise your risk of a blood clot.
The drug company Merck, maker of the NuvaRing contraceptive, says it will pay out $100 million to settle thousands of liability lawsuits from women who say they were harmed by using the product.
These women say that the birth control method put them at greater risk of life-threatening blood clots, and that they were not adequately warned of that risk.
So although a doubling of clotting risk sounds alarming, it actually translates to an additional four to six cases per 10,000 users of the newer pills a year.
Millions of women use hormonal birth control to prevent unintended pregnancy, regulate hormones, and manage unpleasant period symptoms. Although these methods are proven safe and effective for the vast majority of people with uteri, there are some circumstances in which it might be better to use another form of contraception.
For a lot of people, making enough money to feed children—and getting into the doctor to prevent having more—is a serious challenge. Putting birth control on the shelves won’t solve these problems, but it would help prevent unwanted pregnancies, which only compound them.
The risk of blood clots with oral contraception is better known and understood today than it was two decades ago, but women interested in taking the pill may not know the precise numbers of the risk for each hormone option
If you’ve read recent media coverage about NuvaRing, you could be excused for thinking that that the contraceptive ring is deadly and should be yanked off the market immediately. But hold on.
Different contraceptive methods have different risks for blood clots. Women taking the Combined Pill have between a 2 and 5 times higher risk of blood clots compared to women who do not take the pill. Progestogen-only methods do not increase the risk of blood clots in healthy women.
Experts have also stressed that the risk of blood clots among those using combined hormonal contraceptives remained low. They said women should not suddenly abandon their contraception, not least as there was a far larger risk of blood clots during and after pregnancy.
Most of the studies I’ve found associate hormonal birth control pills with increasing women’s risk for blood clots and a subsequent ischemic stroke like the one I had. It’s not a new idea; researchers made the link in 1962. Decades later, there are about 4.4 ischemic strokes for every 100,000 women of childbearing age, and birth control increases the risk to 8.5 strokes per 100,000 women. It seems like a small risk to not bring a child into the world before you’re ready — until it actually happens to you.
In terms of clotting and contraception, it's important to be clear about the types of contraceptive methods in question. First, it's inaccurate to call out 'the contraceptive pill', because not all pills are created equal.
The specific contraceptive methods in the spotlight are combined hormonal contraception (CHC), so called because they contain a combination of the hormones oestrogen and progestogen in different quantities. There are three types of CHC available in the UK: the combined oral contraceptive pill, the combined transdermal patch and the combined vaginal ring - more commonly known as the pill, the patch and the ring, respectively.