11.02.2006

Factor V Leiden

Apparently, Factor V Leiden is the most common hereditary blood coagualtion disorder in the United States. It is present in 5% of the Caucasian population and 1.2% of the African American population. (Or so it says on http://www.fvleiden.org/.)

Those who have Factor V Leiden are at higher risk of blood clots. And, those people who take oral contraceptives and have Factor V are at an even higher risk. Hmmm. Not good.

My mom has it. My brother has it. My sister has it. Yet, for whatever reason, I have yet to actually get my butt to the lab to get checked out. (The odds are certainly against me.)

As I was reading an article on www.msnbc.com today about a group of women who are suing the makers of Ortho Evra (claiming that the birth control patch caused blood clots, serious illness to many women and the death of at least one), I was once again reminded of the seriousness of my situation.

To take the pill or to not take the pill?

Since I originally starting taking the pill for health reasons (i.e. I used to vomit about 10 times a day my first day every month), I am extremely nervous about calling it quits on my Ortho Tri Cyclen low. At the same time, however, the risks of blood clots are certainly very real as well. ("For young women with the factor V Leiden mutation, taking birth control pills increases the risk of thrombosis thirty-five (35) times compared with the risk of those who are not carriers of this mutation" – http://www.proadn.com)

What do you think? Any opinions out there?

5 comments:

wrestling kitties said...

First - GET TO THE DOCTOR LADY!!!!!
I will schedule your appt. for you! It can be scary to think you may have this but it is scarier not doing anything about it! (I will now stop channeling my mom and continue!)

As for BC I am for and against it for me.

Pros:
I am the same way - I got VERY sick and had horrible cramping that would leave me unable to move for at least a day. Now with BC it isn't nearly as bad (just depends on the month) and it is much more tolerable. Also, i don't want kids for another 4 years so any form of BC is incorporated into our lives!!

Cons:
The blood clot thing does scare me as well, i HATE taking a pill everyday but do not feel comfortable taking all those once a month/week things they have out, I get bad cramping mid cycle and the DRs say it is just how my body reacts to the BC, and I honostly feel more tired taking BC (we have tested this out over the many years) :D

I will continue taking it b/c the pros are much more worth it - but I just continue to be aware of the potential health risks and hope nothing happens.

(go to the doctor)

Anonymous said...

Ok, go to to the Dr. K. Get your blood tested, THEN cross that bridge about the birth control.

But seriously, make that appointment tomorrow, K.

Tiny said...

(I've already obtained a lab slip from my doctor... but that was months ago. Hopefully I can find it!)

jo king said...

Coming from a legal 'drug dealer,' as I am often referred to, here are my thoughts:
1. (Get the test)
2. If you find you do have this disorder, there are other non-hormonal options for birth control...but of course the whole vomiting thing migh re-amerge, which would NOT be good.
3. Keep in mind that although 35 times the risk of developing a clot sounds terrifying, in actuality the risk of blood clots in those without the Factor V Leiden mutation is pretty darn rare, so don't let that freak you out....35 times pretty darn rare is still darn rare :) ---Not to say that the risk isn't greater in those with the Factor V Leiden mutation...just to put things in perspective for you.
4. Stay away from Ortho Evra!! Be sure to stick to birth control with low dose estrogen, like Ortho-Tri Cyclen Lo, like you're on. Ortho-Evra is causing these clots because the patch delivers too much estrogen which increases the risk of clotting, among other things.
5. Get the test so you and your doctor can determine what's right for you :)

Tiny said...

Thanks Jo!!!! I feel so lucky to have such smart friends!!!