Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Public Service Announcement

During the course of my fertility diagnosis, I have undergone many, many blood tests. I am fortunate to have a very good doctor who sat with my husband and me for over an hour, not only explaining the results of each test, but also providing us with a great deal of background information about the various genetic and other disorders that were tested for.

One such disorder is called Factor V Leiden. It is a hereditary disorder that increases one's risk of venous thrombosis (blood clots). It can be detected through a simple blood test.
Women with Factor V Leiden are generally advised to avoid birth control pills, given their predisposition to blood clots. Yet, testing for Factor V Leiden is hardly routine. I am not a doctor or medical professional, but I do consider myself to be a fairly well-informed individual who tries to stay up-to-date with medical news and information. Until I went for a battery of fertility tests, I had never heard of Factor V Leiden. I assume most other women haven't, either.

If you take hormonal birth control, please consider talking to your doctor about Factor V Leiden and whether you should be tested for it. I once told a doctor that I "wanted to talk to her about birth control" and she promptly wrote me a prescription for birth control pills (which I decided not to take because they had been prescribed so quickly); I suspect other women may be prescribed these pills in a similarly cavalier manner. While many women are able to use birth control pills safely, the consequences can be quite serious for women with Factor V Leiden and other circumstances or conditions.

Most women I know agree that we must be our own health care advocates and look out for our own best interests; this is just yet another reason to do so.


Blogger mama_tulip said...

That last paragraph is bang-on.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Brooke said...

Where is your doctor and would she consider moving to San Diego?

12:34 AM  
Anonymous kate said...

Thank you. I have been dealing with a similar situation now for three years. I keep trying to tell my doctor that the pills I am on are not right for me- so she writes another prescription. Its so damn frustrating.

2:28 AM  
Blogger The Gradual Gardener said...

Thanks for the tip! This sharing of important information is one of the things I love about blogging.

9:04 AM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

I know of someone with this disorder...has to take blood thinners.

Also, if you're on birth control pills be sure to have your blood pressure checked every few months. A girlfriend of mine was at a science museum with her kids and checked her blood pressure at an exhibit they had on health. A former nurse, she took one look at the numbers and knew they were dangerously high. She went straight to the doctor. She slender and exercises regularly. She was about 35 and had been on the Pill for YEARS without problems. Doctor took her off of them immediately and her blood pressure returned to normal.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Mignon said...

If I'm not mistaken, it's dangerous to smoke with this condition as well, but I did not know about the dangers of the pill. My mom bought me a book years ago entitled Women's Bodies Women's Wisdom. At the time (my early 20's) I laughed it off, but now I consult it all the time as a good resource for info your ob and the news can't or won't provide.

The website is that of the author, and the picture made me gag a little, but the site does have some good information and messages.

Thanks, Arabella, for bringing this up.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Shrinking Violet said...

Thanks for the info!

2:48 PM  
Blogger IzzyMom said...

I've heard of FVL but did not recall the part about birth control. Cavalier is the perfect word to use in terms of how doctors will just write you a prescription without a second thought. When I finally figured out I had PPD and went to the doctor like 237 times for help, they were forever handing me samples of birth control pills and antidepressants without even asking I was breastfeeding or anything else about other medications or conditions I might have. Assholes. They could really harm someone like that. Thanks SO much for posting this!

4:23 PM  

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