Birth control pills can indeed increase the risk for high blood pressure. Users who are older than 35, obese, and/or smoke are generally more at risk. Also, the risk for high blood pressure increases with age and the duration of birth control pill use. When women stop taking the Pill, there is usually a reduction in blood pressure. However, some research reveals that birth control pills may cause a small (yet significant) increase in diastolic pressure, and this can persist in older women who have been off the Pill for years.
Your healthcare provider should conduct a thorough personal and family medical history (paying attention to cardiovascular risk factors) and an accurate blood pressure measurement before you begin to take birth control pills.
Once you begin taking oral contraceptives, make sure to have your blood pressure checked regularly. If you develop high blood pressure while using the Pill, you may wish to discuss the risks of staying on hormonal birth control with your healthcare provider; switching to a different method of contraception may be a better option for you.
Related Birth Control Pill Information:
- Birth Control Pills & Blood Pressure
- Are There Women Who Should Not Use Hormonal Contraceptives?
- Birth Control Pill Effectiveness and Weight
- Choosing the Right Birth Control Pill
Beevers, G., Lip, G., & O'Brien, E. (2010). ABC of hypertension (5th ed). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
Guttmacher Institute.(August 2013). "Contraceptive Use in the United States." Accessed September 1, 2013.