Hormonal contraceptives: what are the real risks?

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Whether it's a pill, a patch, or a vaginal ring, all estrogen-progestogen contraceptives have the same advantages and disadvantages. They are accused of increasing the risk of thrombosis, certain types of cancer, being overweight. The point about possible side effects and risk factors varies from woman to woman.

Hormonal contraception does a great service for women, but for some there is a counterpart. If the vast majority of them tolerate a pill, ring, or patch perfectly well, others will experience side effects, sometimes serious. Each case is specific, the risks are related to age, genetics and medical history. The choice of contraception is not trivial. Feel free to ask your gynecologist to weigh the pros and cons. Fortunately, the choice of contraceptive methods is vast. We can always change it.

Contraception and risk of breast cancer.

Estrogens slightly increase the risk of breast cancer, but no more cases are seen in women taking the pill. "Women who take contraceptives do not have the age of breast cancer unless they have a personal or family history. On the other hand, age is taken into account when menopause approaches. During this period, the benefit balance should be reevaluated. risk. Often the pill is no longer the most suitable contraceptive for the age of 45, "explains Professor Bernard Hédon, a member of the French National College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians.

Hormonal contraceptives work in the veins and arteries.

Every year in France, twelve women die of a heart attack or stroke related to their contraception. This represents 2% of thromboembolic events due to the estrogen-based pill, rings, or patches. These hormones actually promote the formation of a blood clot in a vein or artery. "The risk of thrombosis is the main risk of estrogen-progestogen contraception, well ahead of the risk of cancer," says Professor Hédon.

Vaginal patches and rings belong to the third generation of contraceptives, whose composition doubles the risk of thrombosis compared to the second generation. The risk of thrombosis varies depending on the medical history of each and the composition of the contraceptive.

Estroprogestative contraception also has many benefits. Reduces the risk of endometrial, ovarian and colon cancer. The rules are regulated. PMS is less painful and endometriosis pain improves.

Pill and weight gain

"On average, the pill does not cause any weight gain, but there can be individual variations. Estrogens promote water retention and cellulite, but not at the doses contained in a pill," says Professor Hédon. In case of problems, you can try a lower dose pill or opt for progestin contraception.

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