Two forms of contraceptives which are commonly given to women could help avoid blood clots in women with diabetes, according to research.
The coil, otherwise known as an intrauterine device (IUD) or IUS (intrauterine system), and the contraceptive implant are both highly effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies. Researchers now think either form could be the safest birth control option for women who have diabetes.
The contraceptive implant and IUS both steadily release the hormone progestoge, whereas the IUD releases copper. These methods help to prevent fertilisation occurring.
Many other contraceptives combine progestogen with another hormone called estroge, which this US study has suggested could put women with diabetes at a greater risk of heart attack or stroke.
The findings were compiled looking at over 146,000 women with diabetes, aged between 14 and 44.
A total of 28 per cent were using hormonal contraceptio, and within that group four per cent used contraception containing progestogen only.
The University of California research team discovered that blood clot numbers were lower in the females who were not absorbing estrogen in any way.
There was also a higher risk of blood clots in the women using progestogen-only injectable contraception compared to those using intrauterine contraception.
On average, for every 1,000 women using the coil, there were only three blood clot events a year and less than one per cent in those who chose the implant.
Overall a total of 3,012 thrombotic events were recorded during the trial and clots were more common in those who used contraceptive patches, which only contain estrogen.
Speaking to Reuters Health, Dr Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, who led the study, said: “In some ways, that’s a convenient finding, because … IUDs and implants are the most effective form of contraceptive.”
The authors concluded: “Our results demonstrate the safety of hormonal contraception use in women with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. The contraceptives with the lowest absolute risk were the IUD and implantable subdermal contraceptives, and these highly effective reversible contraceptives are excellent options for women with diabetes.”
The research, which has been published in the Diabetes Care journal, was limited as the participants’ family history, smoking habits or weight were not taken into account.