Contraceptive Pills Can Cause Liver Damage, Doctors Explain How

Liver is one of the most integral organs of the human body. It is because of its functions. The body digests and detoxes through the juices that the liver produces. And if we don’t monitor what we consume, the liver can be severely damaged due to toxins like drugs, alcohol, and unhealthy food. Other diseases or cancer in other organs also affect the liver. Infections in blood if they reach the liver, can cause severe damage.

Painkillers and paracetamol are the leading causes of drug-induced liver injury or DILI and they cause liver failure and contraceptive medicines are no less in causing liver damage. Talking to Hindustan Times, Dr. Chetan Ramesh Kalal, Senior Consultant Hepatologist and Liver Transplant Physician at Mumbai’s Masina Hospital, explained about the same suggesting that people who are prone to or suffering from liver diseases should be careful about oral contraceptives as the studies show that oral contraceptives can increase the risk of chronic liver damage and jaundice.

Although deaths haven’t been recorded, one should always be cautious and know the side effects of medications such as OCPs (oral contraceptive pill) as they cause liver toxicity and damage it in the long run.

OCP can also be a life risk for women, according to Dr. Uday Sanglodkar, Senior Consultant – Hepatology and Liver Transplant who works at Global Hospital, Mumbai.

“Contraceptive pills have a direct impact on the liver. Oestrogens and oral contraceptives are both associated with liver-related complications such as intrahepatic cholestasis, sinusoidal dilatation, peliosis hepatis, hepatic adenomas, hepatocellular carcinomas, hepatic vein thrombosis and gallstones,” he was quoted as saying.

Dr. Uday added that long term usage of oral contraceptives can increase the risk of liver cancers such as adenomas and haemangiomas. He explained that adenomas are round-shaped tumours that are made up of blood vessels and haemangiomas tumours, also consist of blood vessels. These tumours are normally benign (non-cancerous) but they can develop cancerous on rare occasions.

Such carcinogenic factors make OCPs harmful for a woman’s health and physical well-being and should hence be minimised in usage as much as possible. A huge way of doing so is by using protection such as condoms during sexual intercourse rather than having unprotected sex. This would also ensure the reduction of risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) .

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