Birth control pills are a risk-factor that could potentially increase your risk of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). This painful and progressive condition can cause chronic headaches, loss of vision, and blindness. Treatment may require surgery to drain fluid from the skull.
What is Beyaz?
Beyaz prevents pregnancy with a combination of two hormones, ethinyl estradiol (estrogen) and drospirenone (progestin). Beyaz also contains a folic acid supplement to prevent birth defects just in case pregnancy occurs.
Beyaz and Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH)
The term “Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension” means “high pressure inside the skull due to an unknown reason.” No one knows what causes IIH. No studies have found a causal connection between Beyaz and IIH. However, researchers have discovered dozens of possible risk-factors for this disease — including birth control pills.
Several types of birth control have been associated with IIH. One of the first studies, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, identified 56 cases in young women (average age 22) who were using subdermal contraceptive implants containing levonorgestrel. Injections of progestin and exogenous estrogen have also been associated with case reports of IIH.
Beyaz contains drospirenone, a hormone that has been associated with up to a three-fold increased risk of blood clots compared to other hormones. Although rare, blood clots in the brain (cerebral venous thrombosis) can cause “secondary intracranial hypertension.” Like IIH, this disease involves high pressure inside the skull due to abnormal levels of cerebrospinal fluid.
What is IIH?
Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH) occurs when there is too much pressure inside the skull. The brain and spine are surrounded by a layer of cerebrospinal fluid, which acts like a shock-absorber for the brain. When there is too much fluid, it puts pressure on the brain (similar to a growing brain tumor).
- Headaches: Over 90% of people with IIH report headaches and/or migraines. Unless pressure in the skull is reduced, these headaches can become more frequent until they are constant.
- Papilledema: Occurs when pressure in the skull causes swelling (edema) of the optic disc. It can cause enlargement of the blind spot.
- Ringing in the ears: This is a symptom of tinnitus.
- Blindness: IIH puts pressure on the optic nerve. One of the most common complications is double-vision, enlargement of the blind spot, blurry vision, and progressive loss of vision. Unfortunately, damage to the optic nerve is permanent.