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Birth control pills and high cholesterol

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Old 08-29-2002, 08:18 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 4
GatorFan HB User
Question Birth control pills and high cholesterol

Has anyone noticed a link between birth control pills and increased LDL? When on birth control pills, my total cholesterol levels jump dramatically (by 40 to 50 points). Total cholesterol number goes from 250 to approx. 300, with almost all the increase in LDL. I'm young, not overweight and exercise regularly and eat well. I've tracked this over several years with consistent results--i.e., my levels drop if I give up birth control pills for three months. My HDL is 65+ consistently. My doctor wasn't sure about the link until she looked at the tracking of my results over several years, but now she thinks I should switch methods. Has anyone else seen this link?

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Old 09-05-2002, 05:37 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Strassburg, PA, USA
Posts: 1,176
Magpiezoe HB User

Hello, I'd say try a different BC pill. There is a little tiny clause in the "who should not be taking the pill or taking it with precausions" that mentions about different conditions. It can up your chances of a stoke if you smoke or are over 35.


Old 09-27-2002, 09:00 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2002
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Magpiezoe HB User

Hello, You might want to go through the archives of the CNN website. There has been a recent study in the news just a few days ago. It started off as a study of 18-21 year olds in Pennsylvania to see if the birth control pill causes weight gain. The results wound up being no for weight gain, but it did raise cholesterol levels. I guess that explains the warning on the label about not combining smoking and the birth control pill, because it can put you at higher risk for strokes.


Old 02-28-2005, 10:55 AM   #4
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Kansas City
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esiegel HB User
Re: Birth control pills and high cholesterol

I have worked in cardiology for the past 6 years and did not know that birth control could cause an increase in cholesterol! I just found this out today when I talked to one of our nurse practitioners who told me about it. I have had high LDL cholesterol and high triglycerides!

I was able to stay on birth control and decrease my LDL significantly however, my triglycerides continue to increase at an alarming rate! I have made the decision to go off of birth control for at least 3 months and have my cholesterol re-checked.

I will tell you that if you are watching your diet (total fat and saturated fat) and exercising, then your LDL should decrease. Mine did with simple diet changes and moderate exercise. And this was on top of eating unhealthy things once in a while over the holiday season.

Some good things you can do for yourself include eliminating white, enriched-flour breads...I have been buying Sara Lee Multigrain bread. It is low-carb, low-fat and heart-healthy and it isn't outrageously expensive. You can get a loaf of it for about $2.00 at Wal-Mart.

Try switching to whole wheat pasta. Stick to white cheeses...mozzarella, swiss, etc. Those are the ones with the lowest fat content. For things with a lot of fat that I liked, I replaced it with lower-fat versions because the nonfat was too terrible to eat! Things such as low-fat cream cheese, low-fat sour cream and even lower fat chips are some of the things that I buy. Pringles makes a light chip and if you like Doritos or Cheetos puffs, try the natural chips...they are low in fat and have no added preservatives, additives or artificial flavorings. And they taste wonderful!

And if you will watch sugar intake, there are so many things out there now days with Splenda in them! Blue Bunny makes yogurt and ice cream with Splenda. The ice cream is really good...I like the Rocky Road.

Eating more fish will certainly help and eliminating red meat (if you must have red meat, eat sirloin) and increasing lean meats, such as turkey, chicken, etc. will help. It is also important to increase fruits and vegetables. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation or not at all.

The one VERY important thing that I did that I think helped the most was that I had a packet of oatmeal for breakfast nearly every day! And Quaker Oats now makes a low-sugar oatmeal (it comes in apple cinnamon and maple and brown sugar). Watching sugar and carbs is important even if you don't have high triglycerides, because as the body metabolizes sugar and carbs, it turns into fat...fat results in high LDL levels.

If you love baking, try baking with Splenda. I made pumpkin pies for Xmas with Splenda and no one could taste the difference.

Try some of these things and add a little exercise and I promise that you will see results in your LDL!

Old 03-02-2005, 06:03 AM   #5
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 40
molly49 HB User
Re: Birth control pills and high cholesterol

I am 50 years old and have had moderately high cholesterol for 22 years and is currently under control using diet and exercise alone.

For all of my childbearing years I asked several GYN's about birth control pills and they all refused saying it is risky because I had high cholesterol.

This was back in the 1980's !

Old 04-02-2005, 11:23 PM   #6
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9
June4life HB User
Re: Birth control pills and high cholesterol

Prior to going on birth control pills, my total cholesterol was around 240. After being on the pills for 10 months, my total cholesterol is 269!

I'm very active too. I'm a volunteer firefighter, and I run at least 2.5 miles per day. (usually i just run on the treadmill for 15 mins)

I went on Ortho Tri Cyclen Lo and it caused a great increase in my cholesterol. However, according to the charts I'm a "moderate" risk patient and since I'm only 18 years old, they refuse to put me on any medications.

I was told diet and exercise. I have cut out Fat and red meats totally from my diet. I eat MAYBE 10g of fat per day, if that. I do take calcium supplements and a multivitamin just as precautions.

My cardiologist said that the birth control pills are probably causing my high cholesterol, but at this point in my life there is nothing more they will do except diet and exercise!

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