Pancreatitis is a severe side effect of Yaz birth control pill. Women who suffer from pancreatitis have a sudden, painful inflammation of the pancreas. If the inflammation progresses without treatment, the pancreas can hemorrhage and pancreatic tissue can be destroyed.
Yaz birth control has been sold in the United States since it was approved by the FDA in 2006. It quickly became the most popular birth control pill in the country. Use of this contraceptive has dropped off significantly in recent years, now that it has been associated with a three-fold increased risk of blood clots and other severe side effects, including pancreatitis.
Criticism has been growing against Yaz birth control since several studies linked it to an increased risk of blood clots. The FDA has also issued several warning letters regarding misleading statements in the advertisements for Yaz. The FDA warning letters called the ads “misleading” for “failing to communicate any risk information.” These ads may have been partially responsible for converting many women from older birth control pills to the newer pills. The FDA also criticized the ads for implying that Yaz could improve a woman’s quality of life by treating symptoms of PMS and acne, when the pills are only actually approved to reduce the chance of getting pregnant, reduce mild to moderate acne, and treat Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).
Many studies have linked hormonal birth control pills to pancreatitis. It probably is related to the estrogen in Yaz. Some researchers hypothesize that estrogen alters lipid metabolism. It could also be that Yaz increases the amount of triglycerides in a woman’s bloodstream. Yaz is also a mild diuretic, and diuretics have been associated with an increased risk of pancreatitis.
What is Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is a disease of the pancreas. The pancreas is a digestive gland that is responsible for secreting digestive enzymes and the hormones insulin and glucagon. The pancreas may become so inflamed that it starts bleeding; this is called hemorrhagic pancreatitis. In some cases, acute pancreatitis causes severe damage and death of pancreatic tissue; this is called necrotic pancreatitis.
Once the pancreatic tissue becomes necrotized, there is a high risk that it will become infected. Infected pancreatic tissue can easily cause an infection to spread to other organs nearby, causing multiple organ system failure and death. Many people undergo surgery to remove the infected tissue, which improves the long-term prognosis
Signs & Symptoms of Yaz Pancreatitis
Yaz pancreatitis typically causes severe abdominal pain. Even so, diagnosis is frequently delayed because the women who suffer from Yaz pancreatitis frequently have no medical history of pancreatic problems, or risk factors for the disease, and they are often young.
Symptoms of Yaz pancreatitis include:
- The sudden or gradual onset of severe pain in the abdomen
- The abdomen may be very tender and sensitive to the touch
- Pain may radiate to the back, shoulder, or arms
- Nausea, vomiting
- Oily, smelly stools
- Ill appearance