Smoking and Birth Control: What Happens?

By: Women's Care Staff

Most people generally know that smoking is bad for your health. It suppresses the immune system and increases the risk of heart disease and lung cancer. However, many don’t know that combining cigarette smoking with birth control can further increase the risk for major health problems due to the effects of nicotine on extra estrogen supplied by most forms of birth control.

Here’s what you should know about the relationship between smoking and birth control.

A lethal combination

So what happens if you smoke while on birth control? Birth control delivers extra estrogen to your system to prevent ovulation and conception. Nicotine is a toxin that increases your blood pressure and heart rate. When the two substances are combined, birth control adds more stress to your blood vessels on behalf of the extra estrogen and increases the risk for stroke, blood clots, and heart attack.

Providers often get asked if light smoking and birth control have the same effect. Naturally, the heavier you smoke, the more you put yourself at risk. However, any nicotine combined with birth control can increase stress on your blood vessels. Therefore, avoid both light smoking and heavy smoking altogether.

Your odds of worsening familiar history conditions such as heart disease and high cholesterol increases. Consult an OBGYN about smoking and birth control risks. In addition, ask about safer birth control options if you smoke and use a form of birth control such as the pill, ring, patch, or shot.

What to do if you smoke and use birth control

If you smoke, make plans to quit as soon as possible so you can lower your risk for health complications and improve your overall wellness. Many ways of quitting exist. These include patches, gum or medication. Also, talk to a physician about smoking cessation programs that can help you quit.

If you don’t want to quit smoking but use birth control, make an appointment with your OB-GYN as soon as possible. Be completely honest with your OB-GYN about your smoking habit. Many patients hold back personal information. Understand that Women’s Care providers do not judge you because they want to help in any way possible. Therefore, both of you can discuss alternate forms of birth control or the possibility of taking birth control pills that lack estrogen.

Women’s Care offers several options for birth control. These include permanent birth control, subdermal implants, and estrogen-free intrauterine contraceptives. Schedule an appointment with WCF today to explore birth control options and receive comprehensive board-certified gynecologic care.

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