Did the contraceptive pill kill this 21-year-old?

Be alert, but not alarmed. That’s the message from doctors.

Twenty five days.

That’s how long UK woman Fallan Kurek had been on the pill when she died.

In the month leading up to her death, Kurek – who was taking the pill to regulate her periods – began to experience the symptoms of a pulmonary embolism. But at the time, Kurek nor her parents, had no idea the symptoms – which included leg and chest pains and breathlessness – could be related to the contraceptive pill.

Related: Why doctors don’t want women to be able to get the pill without a script.

Even after a visit to the doctor, nothing was mentioned.

One day earlier this month, Kurek woke up, took her pill, and collapsed before making it down the stairs in her home.

Fallan Kurek, 21. Image: Facebook.

It wasn’t until Fallan was in intensive care that the Kurek family even knew it was a danger.

“While they were working on her someone came in to talk to me,” her mother told The Daily Mail.

“They asked me if there were any heart problems in the family, or if Fallan had taken drugs – to which I replied definitely not.

“The third question was, ‘Is she on the pill?’

Three days later, she was pronounced brain dead.

Ms Kurek suffered a blood clot on her lung. Image: Facebook.

According to her parents, the doctors confirmed it was a blood clot that killed her — possibly triggered by the contraceptive pill.

Image: Facebook.

While Fallan’s case is extremely rare, there is plenty of documented research that indicates that the risk of a blood clot is three times higher for women on the pill than those who are not.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that women on the pill should be alarmed.

Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Dr Gino Pecoraro confirmed to Mamamia that the risk is still miniscule and less than the risk faced by women during and after pregnancy.

Figures: Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Nevertheless Dr Pecoraro explained that the risk is why it’s important for a doctor to conduct a proper assessment of a patient’s medical history before prescribing a contraceptive.

To reduce the risk a doctor should assess a patient’s weight, smoker status, and full medical history, including allergies, diabetes, high blood pressure, epilepsy, asthma, whether the patient is on any medications and if the family has a history of blood clots.

According to Dr Pecoraro, a GP should even ask about the nature of your job and how frequently your travel via plane.

But better than this, Dr Pecoraro says women and their GPs should consider other forms of contraceptives — ones which greatly reduce the risk of a blood clot.

“I think women should get away from the idea that the only option for contraception is the pill,” he told Mamamia.

Fallan wasn’t on the pill as a contraceptive device, it was to regulate her periods. Image: Facebook.

“You need to have a discussion about your needs and what is best for you.”

He notes the Mirena and the Implanon as two alternatives. Both devices are inserted into your body — the Mirena via the cervix, the Implanon sits in your arm – and both last for years at a time

Yet, while they lessen the risk of clots — the problem is not entirely eradicated. Any form of contraceptive which increases your oestrogen will put your at a marginally higher risk of clotting.

Dr Pecoraro says it is vital to make an informed contraceptive choice, and concerned women should visit their doctor.

h/t The Daily Mail

Have you or has anyone you know suffered side effects from your contraceptive?

Read more: 

Why doctors don’t want women to get the pill without a script.

It’s time to bin the ban on contraception. Pope Francis says Catholics shouldn’t “breed like rabbits.”

A 21-year-old woman has died after ingesting diet pills she bought online.

Your risk of blood clots is apparently three times higher if you take this pill.