Pulmonary Embolism after Four Months on the Pill

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birth control induced pulmonary embolism
I was a sophomore in college when my life changed. I was an active college student who enjoyed going to the gym. One night I was at the gym on the stair climber and something did not feel right. I got off and all of a sudden blacked out. My heart was racing, my chest was tight and I was very scared. I went back to my dorm to try to sleep it off, but I had a hard time falling asleep.

The next morning I tried walking to class, but once I stepped outside I could not breathe. Going to school at the University of Nevada, Reno it was snowing and cold, so I thought I couldn’t breathe because of the chill. Shortly after, I called my mom and she insisted I go to the campus health center. I went and they did a bunch of tests. Finally, the doctors decided to do a blood test. If those results came back positive, I would have to be rushed to the ER.

Sure enough, I had a positive result. I had multiple pulmonary embolisms. I was hospitalized for three days and given many different anticoagulants (blood thinners) to get my levels back to normal.

After this happened, I was scared for a very long time. It took me a while before I could get back on the stair climber at the gym due to the event. Luckily, I am all healthy now. I take a baby aspirin in the morning to prevent any clotting. I am lucky to be alive and I am very thankful for that.

Symptoms Leading up to the Pulmonary Embolism

Looking back, I had some chest pain during the week, but I figured my symptoms were from the cold I had. It was not until I was on the stair climber, working out vigorously and passed out that I thought something was wrong.

Prior to that, I was not taking any other medications, just the birth control. The pill I was on is called Trivora. I was in overall good health.

I started birth control in August of 2013 and I had my PE on December 2, 2013. I was only the pill for 4 months. I took it religiously, every day at the same, for the four months I was on it.

After I was hospitalized, I had to go to a Coumadin clinic to test my blood every week. I also had to see a cardiologist and get an echocardiogram to make sure that my heart was okay with all the Coumadin that I was taking. Luckily, everything came back negative.

The doctors did test me for clotting factors and heredity tests to see if it ran in my family. I was the only woman on birth control in my family. Luckily, those tests came back negative too.

To this day, I continue to work out regularly and listen to my body if I feel something is not right. The biggest aspect that saved my life was going to the doctor. I know many people are afraid of doctors or worried that they will hear bad news, but it can save your life. I tell all my friends who are on birth control that if they feel not right or something is off with their body to seek medical attention right away.

I hope what I experienced never happens to anyone else. It was the scariest experience of my life and I count my lucky stars every day to be alive.

Real Risk Study: Birth Control and Blood Clots

Lucine Health Sciences and Hormones Matter are conducting research to investigate the relationship between hormonal birth control and blood clots. If you or a loved one have suffered from a blood clot while using hormonal birth control, please consider participating. We are also looking for participants who have been using hormonal birth control for at least one year and have NOT had a blood clot, as well as women who have NEVER used hormonal birth control. For more information or to participate, click here.

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4 Comments

  1. I am so happy you came through all this. My daughter was not so lucky and she was only on it a month. I am surprised you do not have factor V, which means it can happen to anyone and a blood test before going on the pill would not have helped you. So much research needs to be done on this.
    Good luck and I am so happy you are able to tell your story as a healthy woman.

    1. I am so sorry to hear that about your daughter. Yes, so much more research needs to be done. I am a recent college graduate and I am very interested in this field of study. Thank you for posting a comment!

  2. Wow Kristen, I had no idea! I am sorry that you experienced this, but I am so happy that you are okay! I hope all is going well 💕

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