(StatePoint) As college students head back to campus, important decisions about classes, dorms, and part-time jobs are made. At this time in their life, many women will also make important decisions about birth control.
There are multiple birth control methods to choose from, and it can be overwhelming to consider the different options. How well a certain form of birth control works is one important factor to consider, but it’s also important to be aware of potential risks. Experts point to three tips that can help women make an informed choice to meet their specific needs:
• A woman’s health history is important to consider when choosing birth control. For example, birth control methods that contain the hormone estrogen are not recommended for those who have severe diabetes, a history of migraine headaches with aura, or any genetic blood clotting disorder or personal or family history of clotting. Women can complete a health history questionnaire that they can discuss with their doctor at www.alexrowanfoundation.org.
• A woman’s longer-term reproductive goals, such as the number of children she may want to have in the future or how soon she might want to get pregnant, also should be considered.
• Relationship factors, including the number of sexual partners a woman might have, how often she has sex, marital status and her partner’s preference, also need to be considered.
With these issues in mind, the best method of birth control for any woman is one that is safe, that she is comfortable using, and that she is able to use consistently and correctly.
The birth control pill is one of the most common forms of contraception and has been used safely and effectively by millions of women for decades, but any form of hormonal birth control, including the pill, patch or ring, can increase a woman’s risk for blood clots.
Women who use hormonal birth control should know the symptoms of blood clots in the leg or arm, including: swelling, pain and skin that is warm or discolored. Left untreated, a blood clot in the leg or arm can travel to a person’s lung and be deadly. Symptoms of a blood clot in the lung include: difficulty breathing, chest pain, cough or coughing up blood, and a faster than normal heartbeat. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these signs or symptoms. Acting quickly may help save your life, or the life of a friend or family member.
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