Oral contraception

Oral contraceptives are taken by many women to protect them against an unwanted pregnancy. They are popular for reasons of convenience and reliability and are safe to boot. But, they are not 100% risk free.

There are side effects which include weight gain, dizziness, blood clots, water retention and gall bladder disease. But a particular risk is high blood pressure.

If a woman is taking an oral contraceptive but has a family history of high blood pressure, is overweight or suffers from kidney disease then she is at an increased risk of high blood pressure.

This risk is doubly increased if she smokes as well.

If you are taking an oral contraceptive (e.g. ‘the pill’) then ensure that you have your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. But if your form of contraception is causing high blood pressure then you will be switched to another.

Your GP will ask you about your family history and will record your blood pressure before prescribing the pill. Then he/she will check this every 6 months.

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