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Birth Control and Protein Deficiency


Birth Control and Protein Deficiency

The use of birth control pills is associated with a negligible risk of blood clot formation (thrombosis) in every user. But this risk is higher if you have protein C or protein S deficiency. Protein S and C are natural anticoagulants that prevent your blood from clotting. If the levels of proteins are lower than normal, you are at a higher risk of clot formation. If this clot obstructs blood flow in blood vessels, it may result in dangerous complications such as stroke.

The primary concern here is that protein deficiency, when combined with birth pills, may cause the blood to clot faster. So, if you suspect a protein C or protein S deficiency, it is a great idea to consult your doctor before taking any of the available birth control pills.

Birth Control and Protein Deficiency Risk

Your body’s ability to clot is essential. It checks excessive blood loss after an injury. To carry out this process, your body has natural coagulants and anticoagulants. Coagulants promote clotting, while anticoagulants prevent it. 

Protein C and S are anticoagulants, and their deficiency increases the risk of clot formation. When this clot obstructs blood flow, it may cause complications such as stroke.

In general, protein C and S deficiency is inherited. Besides, you can also develop protein deficiency without genetic link due to certain factors, such as:

  • Vitamin K deficiency
  • Liver failure
  • Severe illness, such as infections
  • Widespread tumors
  • Pregnancy
  • HIV infection

Furthermore, birth pills may increase your risk of clot formation. It is seen that women on combination oral pills are 2-6 times more likely to have blood clots as compared to women who do not use them. It is also seen that women on birth pills have lesser protein S than women not taking them.

Birth Control and Protein Deficiency Effect

As mentioned above, taking birth pills when you are deficient in protein C or S increases the risk of clot formation.

Blood clotting may have the following effects:

  • Pulmonary embolism: Here, the blood clots in the lungs, which may damage a part of the lung due to restricted blood flow. It can cause fever, chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, and coughing.
  • Deep vein thrombosis: Here, the clot is formed in leg veins. Some common symptoms include swelling, pain, and discoloration.
  • Thrombophlebitis: It is an inflammatory condition of the vein that may cause redness and swelling along the course of the affected blood vessel.
  • Stroke: If the clot obstructs a blood vessel supplying your brain, it may result in a stroke. Symptoms include slurred speech, dizziness, and paralysis.

Birth Control and Protein S and C Deficiency

Estrogen in combination pills is responsible for clot formation and is thus not recommended in women with protein S or C deficiency.

Instead, they can use the following contraceptive options:

  • Barrier contraceptives: It includes male or female condoms, contraceptive sponge, cervical cap, diaphragm, and cervical shield. While using barrier contraceptives, it is recommended to use a double barrier method. For instance, they can use condoms and diaphragm.

Other birth control options include:

  • Short-acting: The barrier method has the least risk of clot formation. Besides, progestin-only pills can also be helpful.
  • Progestin-only method: It can be taken as IUD, shots, and pills. Many doctors prefer pill over shots as they are comparatively safer.
  • Long-acting: Copper IUD has the lowest risk of clot formation. Copper IUD prevents pregnancy for years after its insertion. Once the IUD is removed, progestin-only methods can be used.

Before planning to start any form of birth control, you can discuss the pros and cons of each type with your physician.

Birth Control Pills and Protein Supplements Diet

In addition to increased clotting risk, birth pills can also increase the risk of vitamin deficiency such as B6, B12, and zinc. So, taking high-quality protein sources such as beans, legumes, eggs, pastured, and organic meat is beneficial. Besides, legumes add a lot of fibre that improves the body’s overall health.

Birth Control and Low Protein Level Management

If your protein C and/or S levels are low, your doctor may prescribe blood thinners, also known as anticoagulants, to manage the condition. These medications prevent blood from clotting in blood vessels. Some commonly used blood thinners are heparin and warfarin.

You can also take the following precautions to lower the risk of complications associated with protein S or C deficiency:

  • Avoid sitting or standing for long
  • Exercise regularly
  • Wear compression stocking if prescribed by your doctor
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day

Final Thoughts

Protein S and C are the body’s natural anticoagulants that prevent blood from clotting. The deficiency of either protein increases your risk of clot formation. This risk is further higher in women taking oral contraceptive pills. Estrogen in birth pills promotes clot formation and is thus not advisable for women with protein S or C deficiency.

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