Know the Risks of Estrogen-Based Birth Control: Melissa’s Story

Know the Risks of Estrogen-Based Birth Control: Melissa’s Story

After giving birth to my daughter by emergency c-section due to preeclampsia, I started to feel very ill. My right leg was throbbing and my chest hurt. I followed up with the doctor on this, and a quick scan showed blood clots in my leg (deep vein thrombosis) and my chest (pulmonary embolism).

I was immediately put on blood thinners (anticoagulants) and the doctors started running additional testing. One week later, I was released from the hospital with information that I had a rare blood clotting disorder – Prothrombin Gene Mutation (Factor II). I was sent to Cleveland Clinic where I received top-notch care to help determine my best path forward.

Since this experience, my father and sister have tested positive for the Prothrombin Gene Mutation. I have learned that taking estrogen-based birth control (which I had been doing) puts women at risk for blood clots. I have also learned that you can wear compression stockings while traveling to help blood flow. Going forward, I always need to check in with my hematologist before I schedule any future surgeries. I have learned tons of valuable information through NBCA’s patient support group, which has been very helpful during my recovery!

This blood clotting experience has changed my life – I could have died giving birth to my kids. I never take my children or life for granted and having blood clots has given me a deeper appreciation for all that I have in life. I’ve been given a second chance, and I do not intend to waste it.

My advice for others out there is to be very careful when choosing a birth control option – know your risk factors, such as #familyhealthhistory, before making that decision, and to be aware of your risk for developing blood clots after #surgery. Knowing the signs and symptoms could save your life!


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