PROVO, Utah – Birth control is an important part of a woman’s health, but what kind of birth control to use can be a scary and confusing decision to make.
The Center for Disease Control said most women will experience some negative side effects using contraception. Usually their only option is to try a different kind.
Men and women have several choices when it comes to birth control: hormone based, like the pill, and non- hormone based, like condoms. Each choice has options and possible reactions. But what’s the line between an acceptable and a harmful side effect?
Kayla Smith is one of millions of women who decided to opt for birth control, taking shots for one year, but it didn’t go as she planned.
“I started having all of these stomach pains,” Smith said. “I thought maybe I was allergic to something. My birth control was slowly killing me. I was developing early signs of osteoporosis and I’m only 22.”
Doctors said it’s time to find a different method when the symptom significantly impacts your quality of life.
University of Utah associate professor Dr. Lori Gawron is heading a clinical trial for a new kind of oral medication. The new pill tackles one of the most common life-threatening side effects of birth control: blood clots.
Gawron said the estrogen in current pills is processed through the liver. This added strain on the liver is a dangerous option for women with a higher risk of blood clots and stroke.
“The estrogen that’s in the E4 Freedom trial is metabolized differently, and so (it) shouldn’t have the same effects on the clotting mechanism, and so hopefully we won’t see the same risk for blood clots going forward,” Gawron said.
She said the risks associated with birth control can be high, but the power to prevent pregnancy is a powerful tool for women.
“There are not only social and economic benefits to a woman deciding timing of pregnancy or number of pregnancies, but also the ability to control pregnancy can affect women’s health,” Gawron said.
“Everyone thinks birth control is a one size fits all and that’s actually not true. I feel like birth control is completely different per person,” Smith said.
Physicians said whatever method you decide to use, it’s important to work closely with doctors and do plenty of homework before starting any method.
For those interested in participating in the E4 Freedom clinical trial, see their website.
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