If you’re trying to prevent pregnancy, you’ve probably considered using the birth control pill. Unfortunately, the pill isn’t the most suitable option for everyone, however. It is not considered ideal for those who are at a greater risk of heart disease. Does this mean that oral contraceptives are not suitable for women with high cholesterol? Here’s what you should know about how this method of contraception can affect your cholesterol levels.
Will Birth Control Pills Raise Your Cholesterol Levels?
The information out there about birth control pills and cholesterol levels is conflicting. According to the National Institutes of Health, oral contraceptives can change or increase your cholesterol levels. The Mayo Clinic reports that women using pills with higher levels of estrogen may actually see a decrease in their cholesterol levels, however.
Why Might Oral Contraceptives Affect Cholesterol?
Several factors may play a role in how oral contraceptives may affect your cholesterol levels. The level of hormones in the pill that you are taking is one factor that will determine how much your cholesterol is affected, according to the Mayo Clinic. Another factor is how sensitive you are to birth control side effects. Some women may experience an increase in appetite, which can lead to moderate weight gain. Before blaming your change in cholesterol levels on oral contraceptives, be sure to consider if it could be linked to the side effects that you are experiencing on the pill.
Is it Safe to Use Birth Control Pills if You Have High Cholesterol?
Most women do not experience significant changes in cholesterol while they are using the pill, according to the Mayo Clinic. For this reason, oral contraceptives are generally considered safe for women with high cholesterol. That said, if your cholesterol increases while you are using the birth control pill, it may be ideal to talk to your doctor about other methods of contraception.
The birth control pill is not recommended to women who have a history of heart attack, stroke, angina, serious heart problems, high blood pressure, and unmanageable diabetes, according to Planned Parenthood. Some of these conditions are associated with high cholesterol and diet. It’s important for your doctor to be aware of your full medical history before prescribing you with oral contraceptives.
If you are concerned about how the pill may affect your cholesterol, it’s important to talk to your doctor. While some women will see no change in their levels, others may experience an increase or decrease. Being aware of the fact that birth control pill side effects can impact your eating habits can help you manage your cholesterol.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational purposes only. Anyone who is concerned about their health should seek medical attention from a licensed healthcare professional.
National Institutes of Health