Birth Control Linked to Heart Attack, Stroke

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While many women taking hormonal birth control may worry about the prospect of having a heart attack or stroke, Dr. Lauren Streicher at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago said that "pregnancy is far more likely to cause an MI or stroke than hormonal contraception." This, she said, is because hormone levels naturally change in a woman's body during pregnancy, increasing the risk of clots.

Dr. Jacques Moritz, director of gynecology at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, agreed, adding that the normal risks associated with pregnancy must be considered alongside those of taking hormonal contraception. "You throw in ectopic pregnancy and its associated complications and the pill looks good," he said.

Doctors agree that women should talk with their physicians to carefully consider all risks before starting any medication -- and birth control is no exception.

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