Which Birth Control Is Safest For High Blood Pressure?
Having high blood pressure can affect most every avenue of your life, even including your sex life. For example, here's one question you'll no doubt ask yourself at one point: Which birth control is safest for high blood pressure? You might be surprised by how many different options are still on the table.
First, though, it's helpful to know which types of birth control aren't ideal for people with high blood pressure. "Combined hormonal contraception, such as the birth control pill that contains both estrogen or progesterone, is not a suitable choice of contraception for people with high blood pressure," Dr. Savita Ginde, a family planning expert, tells Romper. Estrogen could put too much strain on the system, basically. And although medications with both progesterone and estrogen can be effective contraceptives, "for people with high blood pressure, using this type of medication can increase the risk for a heart attack and stroke due to hormonal changes from the estrogen component," Cara Delaney, M.D., MPH, Family Planning Fellow and Obstetrics and Gynecology Instructor for Boston University and Boston Medical Center, tells Romper. This doesn't mean you're at a loss, though. Dr. Ginde recommends having a conversation with your physician to sort through the choices and find the best contraception for your lifestyle. Although it's generally best to avoid extra estrogen, there are still plenty of safe birth control options for people with high blood pressure.
Because they contain no hormones at all, condoms are one safe birth control option in this case, according to Dr. Ginde. There are plenty of different choices, too. For instance, the list of best condoms from Bustle includes non-latex, eco-friendly, and even flavored varieties. (The flavored ones are vegan to boot.)
If you'd like a long-lasting option, then the intrauterine device (IUD) is also OK for people with high blood pressure, explains Dr. Delaney. "There are also 2 different IUDs that are suitable — the copper IUD which actually does not have any hormones, and the progesterone IUD," says Dr. Ginde. If the insertion part is stressing you out, then here's what it's like to get an IUD in real life.
Because it only contains progesterone, the shot is another suitable option. It does require a commitment every few months, however. "With the Depo Shot, you need to return to your healthcare provider’s office every three months for an injection," says Dr. Ginde. For plenty of people, this moderately long-lasting option is perfection.
Don't forget about this convenient, relatively simple choice. Requiring an insertion visit, the progesterone-only birth control implant is another safe choice for those with high blood pressure, according to Dr. Ginde. One of the most effective forms of birth control available, the implant (AKA Nexplanon) is a matchstick-sized device that a doctor places inside your upper arm, and it can last for up to five years.
5. Mini Pill
Yep, there's even a form of birth control pill that can work, too. "The mini pill is an option for those who have high blood pressure because it is a progesterone-only pill," says Dr. Ginde. You do have to stick to a schedule in order to use it, however, she cautions: "With the mini pill you really need to take it at the same time of day to make it most effective." A discussion with your doctor can determine the best form of birth control for you. At any rate, having high blood pressure doesn't limit your contraceptive options all that much.
Cara Delaney, M.D., MPH, Family Planning Fellow and Obstetrics and Gynecology Instructor, Boston University and Boston Medical Center