Venous and Arterial Risks Associated with Combined Hormonal Contraception

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Around the world, women use oral contraceptive pills for contraceptive as well as many non-contraceptive benefits. Concerns regarding the risks associated with use of hormonal contraceptives have existed since introduction of the first products. Early on, investigators identified the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) and attributed this to the estrogen component of the pill as a dose-dependent effect. Although combined hormonal contraception increases the risk of VTE events, the absolute risk remains low, and the same underlying identifiable risk factors exacerbate the risk of thrombosis in both users and nonusers. Over the years, we have seen changes to pill dosing and formulation, including the introduction of new progestins. This has given rise to new questions and concerns regarding risks of specific pills. At the same time, we have improved diagnosis of VTE and gained further insights regarding baseline risk factors, and changes have occurred in both population health and the available options for birth control. Clinical questions and controversies have emerged including risks of progestogens, if screening is indicated, and how to provide patient-centered counseling. This chapter will: Review the action of combined hormonal contraception.Provide an understanding of estrogens and progestogens used for contraception.Discuss the risk of venous and arterial embolic events, risk factors, and how hormonal contraception modifies these risks.Guide interpretation of the evidence regarding risks of combined hormonal contraception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTrends in Andrology and Sexual Medicine
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameTrends in Andrology and Sexual Medicine
ISSN (Print)2367-0088
ISSN (Electronic)2367-0096


  • Arterial thromboembolism (ATE)
  • Birth control pill
  • Combined hormonal contraception
  • Contraception
  • Estrogen
  • Oral contraceptive pill
  • Progestogen
  • Venous thromboembolism (VTE)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Urology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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