Yasmin birth control pills have been linked to an increased risk of gallbladder disease, which is a severe disorder that occurs when the gallbladder becomes inflamed, or gallstones form in the gallbladder. Women who suffer from this severe Yasmin side effect may face debilitating pain, medical expenses, and lost income during recovery. Serious Yasmin gallbladder disease frequently necessitates surgery to remove the gallbladder entirely.
Yasmin (drospirenone / ethinyl estradiol) is a popular hormonal birth control pill. When the FDA approved Yasmin in 2001, it was the first birth control pill to ever contain drospirenone, a synthetic type of progestin. The FDA has recently updated the safety information on Yasmin to warn women about a potentially significant, three-fold increased risk of blood clots. Yasmin can also cause gallbladder disease, even in women with no medical history of the illness or other risk factors.
Many women who have suffered severe, life-threatening Yasmin side effects are angry because they feel they were not fully informed of the risks of side effects before using Yasmin. Indeed, the FDA has also cited Bayer for failing to communicate risk information in the massive advertising campaign that launched Yasmin in the mid-2000s.
Yasmin Gallbladder Disease
Women are more likely than men to develop gallbladder disease, because more women use birth control pills, hormone replacement therapies, and have very high estrogen levels following pregnancy. Significantly elevated hormone levels have been linked to an increased risk of gallbladder disease.
There are several theories as to how the hormones in Yasmin could increase the risk of gallstones and gallbladder disease. It is possible that the prolonged diuretic effect causes gallstones. It is also possible that Yasmin inhibits normal gallbladder motility, which lessens the flow of bile from the gallbladder. Yasmin may increase the amount of calcified cholesterol that flows into the gallbladder, and over time, these particles may form gallstones.
What is Gallbladder Disease?
Gallbladder disease is an illness that occurs when the gallbladder becomes suddenly, severely inflamed, or develops painful accretions called gallstones. The gallbladder is a digestive organ primarily responsible for storing, concentrating, and releasing a substance called bile, which is produced by the liver and aids in the digestion of fatty foods.
Women who take Yasmin have a risk of developing gallstones, which are hard accretions that may be the size of a grain of sand, or a golf ball. If untreated or undiagnosed, a gallstone may grow until it fills the entire gallbladder, and causes the organ to be severely damaged.
Approximately half of people who have gallbladder disease will need surgery (called a cholecystectomy) to remove their gallbladder.
Signs & Symptoms of Gallbladder Disease
The initial symptoms of gallbladder disease are often mistaken for indigestion or other disorders. Usually, gallbladder disease or gallstones are diagnosed when they produce prolonged abdominal pain that is severe enough that the person seeks medical treatment.
Symptoms of Yasmin gallbladder disease may include:
- Pain where the gallbladder is located, just below the rib cage on the right side of the body
- Severe upper abdominal pain, which may last only 15 minutes, or several hours (this is called a gallbladder attack). This pain may occur at night.
- Nausea, vomiting
- Belching, burping
- Abdominal pain following the ingestion of a meal that contains a lot of fat or grease