COVID and Contraception Don’t Mix

News: US News
by Paul Murano  •  •  August 7, 2020   

Researchers warn women on 'the pill'

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DETROIT ( - New research indicates the Wuhan virus may contribute to deadly blood clots in women using birth control pills.

In a new manuscript published July 29 in the Endocrine Society's journal, "Endocrinology," researchers concluded women on the pill who contract COVID-19 may increase their risk of blood clotting. Co-authored by Daniel I. Spratt, M.D. and Rachel J. Buchsbaum, M.D., the paper indicates women who are taking hormonal contraception or who are pregnant and people undergoing hormone-replacement therapy may be at higher risk.

On this increased risk of blood clotting, the medical doctors wrote that their findings indicate a potentially serious consequence of contracting the Wuhan virus.

Daniel Spratt

"The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has proven unusual with respect to the spectrum of its pathological effects," they wrote. "In addition to damage inflicted on the lungs, kidneys, heart and other organ systems, reports have emerged of hypercoagulable states in patients hospitalized with COVID-19."

A hypercoagulable state is the medical term for a condition in which there is an abnormally increased tendency toward blood clotting (coagulation).

The paper is titled, "COVID-19 and Hypercoagulability: Potential Impact on Management with Oral Contraceptives, Estrogen Therapy and Pregnancy." Buchsbaum, its co-author along with Spratt, practices oncology at Tufts Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine.

The authors of the manuscript added that "macro- and micro-vascular thrombosis in venous and arterial beds along with venous thromboembolic events (VTEs) occur with a troublesome frequency." In other words, these blood clots have been found to occur regularly in coronavirus patients.

While uncertainties remain, co-author Spratt, a resident of Maine Medical Center in Portland and Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, offers a tacit warning in lieu of more research.

In addition to damage inflicted on the lungs, kidneys, heart and other organ systems, reports have emerged of hypercoagulable states in patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

"During this pandemic, we need additional research to determine if women who become infected with the coronavirus during pregnancy should receive anticoagulation therapy or if women taking birth control pills or hormone-replacement therapy should discontinue them," Spratt warned.

Birth control pills have a history of giving women an increased risk of stroke or heart attack. When the pill was first sold to the public in the 1960s, the risk was significant due to its concentration of hormones. Today, however, doses of estrogen consumed in combined oral contraceptive pills (COCs) are still not without considerable risk and danger.

This fact was noted in the new paper.

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"COC use is [already] associated with a 2- to 6-fold increase in risk for VTEs. The risk for stroke is increased in young women from about 4 to about 8 in 100,000 women per year," the authors wrote.

VTEs are venous thromboembolic events — i.e., blood clots that start in a vein.

In a 2015 research paper authored by six researchers and reviewed by the Fertility Regulation Group, the question of the heightened risk of stroke and heart attack owing to the reception of oral contraceptives was explored.

At this point, doctors do not know why or how the virus has an impact on blood coagulation.

"Oral contraceptive pills have been found to increase the risk of a blood clot forming in an artery, i.e., arterial thrombosis (heart attack or stroke)," the study affirmed.

In the new findings published on July 29 by Spratt and Buchsbaum, the physicians also warn that an increase in risk — over and above the normal risk increase corresponding to birth control or hormonal therapy use — may exist in those who contract the Wuhan virus.

Rachel J. Buchsbaum

The two doctors added that it is commonly recommended that people stop taking estrogen two weeks before they embark on something that could also increase their risk of blood clots (like surgery or long plane flights). They say, however, there is no "clear data" yet that supports this advice.

At this point, doctors do not know why or how the virus has an impact on blood coagulation. Spratt and Buchsbaum called for researchers and clinicians as well as endocrinologists and hematologists to work together to find more answers.

The doctors stressed the importance of finding answers to these questions, predicting the novel coronavirus will be around for years to come.

"We do not know how long the current pandemic will endure and can be reasonably certain that, like the H1N1 virus causing the 1918–1919 influenza pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 will return cyclically for years if not decades," they wrote.

"Thus, the importance of undertaking research to answer these questions will continue with findings likely to be applicable in a wide range of clinical situations," they added,

On the moral value of contraception, the Catholic Church teaches that all forms of contraception are intrinsically evil. Contraceptives contradict the inseparable unitive-procreative significance of marital love as expounded in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 2270.

Medical science has also discovered chemical birth control pills cause early abortion by rendering the uterine wall impossible for the tiny child to attach when the pill's contraceptive mechanism fails.

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