ZocdocAnswersIs it safe for someone who smokes to take birth control?

Question

Is it safe for someone who smokes to take birth control?

My girlfriend smokes and is starting to take the pill, says she'll stop smoking but I'm worried about her.

Answer

The answer to your question depends on a few factors. First, it is never safe for someone to smoke. As you know smoking can cause many health problems. The main health problem that can occur in women who smoke and use birth control pills is an increase in the number of blood clots that can form inside the veins. Blood clots that form inside the veins can be dangerous because they can move to the lungs and block blood flow. Both smoking and the use of birth control pills independently can increase the risk of blood clots. This risk is seen as fairly low in women under the age of 35. Over the age of 35, the risk of a blood clot when a women is on birth control pills and smokes is too high. Thus, we do not prescribe birth control pills to women in this category. No matter how old your girlfriend is, she needs to stop smoking. I suggest that you schedule an appointment for her to see her primary care physician. The two of the can discuss the risk of a blood clot and how best to prevent them. In addition, her doctor can get her started on a smoking cessation program.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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