The Story Behind Birth Control and Venous Insufficiency
Does birth control increase the risk of venous insufficiency or deep vein thrombosis (DVT)? Empirical research shows that certain types of birth control, such as oral combined contraceptive pills (OCCPs), might put some women at a higher risk of developing venous problems, including blood clots and DVT. However, more research is needed to better understand this connection. If you currently take birth control or if you’re considering taking it, it’s important to learn more about these potential risks.
Long-Term Birth Control and Blood Clots
Taking certain oral contraceptives can increase your risk of developing blood clots and DVT. Keep in mind that the risk of having blood clots with birth control is higher during your first year of taking these pills. Afterwards, this risk decreases until you stop taking these pills. Overall, the risk of getting blood clots with birth control is lower than your risk of having clots occur during pregnancy.
Common Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency
Venous insufficiency can develop when blood collects or pools inside veins instead of flowing back to the heart. This commonly occurs in leg veins and can be caused by DVT. Symptoms of venous insufficiency include the following:
- Ankle and lower leg swelling, especially after standing for long periods of time
- Varicose veins
- Soreness in the legs
- Patches of leathery skin
- Areas of itching or flaking skin
Common Symptoms & Complications of DVT
It’s important to be familiar with the symptoms of DVT, along with the complications it can cause. Common symptoms of DVT include the following:
- Soreness in the affected leg, such as cramping
- Skin discoloration or redness
- Warmth in the affected area
DVT can lead to a life-threatening complication known as a pulmonary embolism, which occurs when part of a blood clot breaks off and moves toward the lungs. Certain warning signs and symptoms of this complication include the following:
- Shortness of breath that occurs suddenly
- Rapid pulse or heartbeat
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Chest pain that becomes worse when breathing in deeply or coughing
- Back pain
- Bluish nails or lips
DVT can also lead to post-thrombotic syndrome, which is a long-term complication. Symptoms of this include:
- Swelling in the affected leg
- Skin rash
- Calf ulcers
- Dilated blood vessels
- Soreness in the calf
- Skin discoloration
If you experience any warning signs of a pulmonary embolism or post-thrombotic syndrome, you should seek emergency medical care.
When to See a Vein Doctor
If you are experiencing any signs and symptoms of DVT, it’s important to schedule a consult with a vein doctor so that you can get prompt treatment if needed. Even if your symptoms are only mild, keep in mind that DVT can become a life-threatening condition without treatment. Seeing a vein doctor helps ensure that you receive a diagnosis and get started on treatment if you do have this vein condition.
Vein and Vascular’s Practice in Voorhees, NJ
When you need vein treatment for DVT or other vein problems, please contact Vein & Vascular Institute to meet our vein physicians in Voorhees, New Jersey. We can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and go over treatment options as needed. This helps lower your risk of experiencing serious complications from venous insufficiency.