You probably know that the pill has hormones in it to keep you from getting pregnant. Most versions have a combination of estrogen and progesterone. Some have more estrogen in them than others. While fewer hormones sounds like a good thing -- and it mostly is -- you should know the drawbacks when you’re weighing your choices.
Combination hormonal birth control pills that contain the progestin called desogestrel increase the risk of blood clots more than birth control pills that contain other types of progestin.1 The progestin called drospirenone (found in pills such as YAZ or Yasmin) also might have a greater risk of blood clots than other types of progestin.2 Talk to your doctor about the risk of blood clots when deciding which pill is right for you.
The birth control patch delivers more estrogen than the low-dose birth control pills do. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that women using the patch are slightly more likely to get dangerous blood clots in the legs and lungs than women using birth control pills. So talk to your doctor about your risks before using the patch.
The known risk factors for blood clots (DVT or PE) include:3
Surgery. Birth control pills are usually stopped within 1 month of major surgery to decrease the risk of a blood clot. The risk needs to be balanced against the risk of an unintended pregnancy by stopping the pills.
Coagulation disorders, such as factor V Leiden mutation. This is a genetic blood clotting problem.
Inactivity, such as during long distance travel in cars or airplanes.