Birth Control Pills, Hormone Therapy, and Coronary Artery Disease
Women have unique risk factors for heart disease. Two of these are birth control pills and hormone therapy.
Birth control pills
Healthy, young, nonsmoking women probably do not increase their risk of Reference coronary artery disease Opens New Window (CAD) when they take low-dose birth control pills (oral contraceptives).
But if a woman has other significant risk factors for CAD, taking birth control pills may further increase this risk. For instance, birth control pills are more likely to increase a woman's risk if she is older than 35 and smokes cigarettes. Birth control pills may raise "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) and lower "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL).
Taking Reference estrogen Opens New Window with or without Reference progestin Opens New Window does not prevent coronary artery disease. In fact, if you are 10 or more years past Reference menopause Opens New Window, taking Reference hormone therapy Opens New Window may raise your risk of coronary artery disease.Reference 1
Talk to your doctor about your risks with hormone therapy. And carefully weigh its benefits against the risks of taking it. If you need relief for symptoms of menopause, hormone therapy is one choice you can think about. But there are other types of treatment for problems like hot flashes and sleep problems.
For more information see Reference Women and Coronary Artery Disease.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference April 6, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Reference Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology