Women and Blood Clots: Know the Risk Factors
Blood clots are dangerous. About 100,000 Americans die annually due to blood clots, which is more than those who die from AIDS, breast cancer, and automobile accidents combined. Women have different risk factors than men.
Pregnancy hormones, such as estrogen, cause women’s’ bodies to produce extra clotting factor proteins, making pregnancy a major risk factor for life-threatening blood clots. Similarly, any birth control method or menopause therapy containing estrogen can pose a blood clot risk.
To reduce risk, the National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) offers these tips:
- If you’re pregnant, ask your doctor about your blood clot risk to determine if you need to be on blood thinning medication.
- If taking birth control, consider methods not associated with pregnancy hormones, including barrier methods, copper IUD and progestin-only pills, IUDs and implants.
- When managing menopause symptoms, consider non-estrogen and natural treatments that don’t carry blood clot risks.
NBCA’s experts urge women to know the signs of blood clots, which include swelling and pain in limbs, shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing up blood.
To learn more, visit WomenAndBloodClots.org.
Reducing your risk for blood clots is crucial, particularly when it comes to choices connected to pregnancy, family planning and menopause treatment.