The pill and cholesterol levels?

hi ladies

i've been on the pill for about a year and a half. I used to get horrible period pain, and my mother had endometriosis, so the gynae put me on the pill to help with the pain and slow the growth of any fibrous tissue. it's worked great! 

but now, for my last two sets of blood work, my cholesterol and LDL levels have come back elevated. I generally eat low fat food and very little meat, so the increased cholesterol levels have me a little freaked out. I increased my exercise levels and paid even more attention to my diet after the first test, and my blood tests this week showed a decrease in cholesterol, but it's still too high! my doctor doesn't seem too worried, she's just happy it's come down a little from last time. I'm still freaked out, high cholesterol at the age of 24 is NOT good. i've been running it through my head and reading up on it, and if tis not diet or exercise, i think it might be because i'm on the pill.

so, basically, i'm wandering if anyone else has ever had a problem with this? if so, was there anything you can do about it? can diet and exercise changes make any significant difference? or should i just stop the pill? as much as i love not feeling like i'm dying once a month, i'm not so keen on a pain-free period at the cost of DVT or a heart attack. but then what do i do about the pain and possible endometriosis?

(i know i should go see my gynae, but there's a bit of a wait to get an appointment. so i'm asking you all in the meantime)

Hi Caron,

I've been on the pill for approx. 3 years and have not noticed a negative impact on my cholesterol levels. Mine have gone up some recently, but I blame that more on diet and exercise than the pill. I have had them go up and down depending on how good I am about food and exercise.

I did some research and here is what I found:

"Birth control pills can affect cholesterol levels. How much of an effect depends on the type of pill you're taking and what concentration of estrogen or progestin it contains. Birth control pills with more estrogen can have a slightly beneficial overall effect on your blood lipid levels. In general, though, the changes aren't significant and don't affect your overall health."

Women in general have higher levels of HDL cholesterol than men, and that is due to us having more estrogen. So it seems like the pill should help, not hurt your cholesterol levels. Of course, I'm no expert on the subject. It might be genetic as well.

I would definitely recommend seeing your doctor and maybe try taking some fish oil supplements or eating more good fat, since that helps remove LDL.

Take care,

Kasia

I"m not on the pill, but my mum was when she was in college (mainly for period pain)   and I know that she had BIG issues with high cholesterol, her doctor told her it was due to the pill....(she was on the track team, and running 10 miles per day.....as well as eating vegetarian, o it wasn't a lifestyle thing)

Caron, I have had bad periods since they started. Originally my OB put me on progesterone pills for the first 10 days of every month, and then my periods would be lighter and go away on time and the cramps were better. I would have stayed on that pill, but my endocrinologist was worried about any hormones (the progesterone or birth control) so I went off. Of course all the bad things happened again, and we asked my OB for the lowest dosage birth control pill, to try to appease the endo and get some relief. (personally I'm pretty sure with the pill I'm on know to keep everything under control I'm on way more hormones than if I would have stayed with the progesterone, but he doesn't complain anymore =P) Even on the pill I have some cramping so I would say it probably worked about the same. Just something to bring up to your OB as a different option.

Coming off the pill my cholesterol dropped about 15% AND my high blood pressure went away. My doctor said that coming off the pill is known to have these effects (so I guess the pill can increase cholesterol and blood pressure).

I also take fish oil and that dropped my cholesterol another 15% too :slight_smile: