Health & Fitness A woman died of a blood clot after taking the pill

17:11  17 july  2017
17:11  17 july  2017 Source:

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Young woman , 20, died from blood clot after taking contraceptive pills . Richard Hartley-Parkinson for 10 Jul 2017 8:34 am. Sms. Abbey Parkes was just 20 when she died as a result of a blood clot (Picture: NTI).

We must educate American women because so many people are telling them, “ Taking the pill is simple, safe and convenient.” 1. Why is it that Julie Hennessey, a 31-year-old Irish woman , died of a blood clot after taking the birth control pill ?

A 20-year-old woman has died of a blood clot after taking the pill © Getty A 20-year-old woman has died of a blood clot after taking the pill

The pill is undoubtedly one of the most commonly used forms of contraception among women in the UK, and for most people it works perfectly well. For a very small proportion of the population, however, it doesn't; and they come up against issues ranging in severity, from problems with their skin through to much more serious health threats.

20-year-old Abbey Parkes was unfortunately one of the women in the latter group; she ultimately lost her life as a result of taking the contraceptive pill while having an undetected genetic condition. The young woman had been on the pill Logynon for six years, after having been given it at the age of 14 by her GP when she complained of terrible mood swings during her periods.

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What Abbey and her doctor didn't know, however, was that she had a rare genetic condition called Factor V Leiden, which significantly increases your chances of developing a blood clot. Tragically, Abbey did develop a clot, and passed away on August 26th last year after suffering a pulmonary embolism.

  A woman died of a blood clot after taking the pill © Provided by National magazine company ltd (Hearst UK)

According to the NHS, Factor V Leiden is a form of Thrombophilia, a condition that's known to cause a pulmonary embolism when a blood clot breaks off and begins to travel in the body's circulation, eventually lodging in the arteries supplying the lungs and preventing oxygen from passing around the body.

Abbey, a legal secretary from Staffordshire, was unaware of the rare condition, and hadn't realise that when she experienced pains in her side, wooziness and shortness of breath, these were all symptoms of a blood clot.

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Prior to her death, Abbey had gone to the hospital about her ailments, which they believed might have be related to a pulled muscle, so they carried out an ECG and an x-ray, reports the METRO. She was found to have an infection which seemed like nothing serious, and when the young woman later went back to the doctor about the trouble she was having breathing, she was given an inhaler and some steroids.

Abbey went back to work, but the discomfort continued, and on the morning of her death she called her boyfriend - 25-year-old Liam Grocott - to say she felt like she couldn't breathe. He called 999, but when paramedics arrived Abbey was unconscious and not breathing.

She was taken to hospital, but sadly passed away after the pulmonary embolism sent her into a cardiac arrest.

Stories like this one can obviously make people who take the pill panic that they might end up with a similar kind of life-threatening health condition, so we decided to speak to Jane Dickson, Vice President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) and a consultant in sexual and reproductive healthcare at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, who was keen to reassure women not to worry.

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"Only about 1 in 5,000 people have Factor V Leiden"

"Factor V Leiden is a gene mutation which results in processes going wrong, making the blood become a little bit more likely to clot," she explained. Jane told Cosmopolitan UK that the 'pure form' of Factor V Leiden - which you'd only get if it was passed down to you genetically by both of your parents - is very rare. "Only about 1 in 5,000 people would have have it," she said.

And when you look at the actual figures, it's much more reassuring. "The contraceptive pill on its own makes your blood a little bit more likely to have a clot. So if we put it in normal terms; if you had 10,000 women who weren't on the pill, 2 of those might have a blood clot," said Jane.

"If you had 10,000 women who were on the pill, 6 of those would have a blood clot. But if you have a genetic defect like Factor V Leiden, that makes you a lot more at risk of a blood clot - by around 35 times," she explained.

  A woman died of a blood clot after taking the pill © Provided by National magazine company ltd (Hearst UK)

That essentially means that if you have a genetic condition and you take the pill, you'd be roughly 100 times more likely to get a blood clot than if you had neither of those affecting factors. But as Jane pointed out, there are various other things which could also increase your chance of getting a blood clot; like being overweight (specifically, having a BMI of over 35), being a smoker or having a family history of blood clots.

"The difficulty is," said Jane, "there's no way of knowing on the whole if someone's got Factor V Leiden or not, because it's so rare and because it's quite difficult to test for". This means the only answer is to simply pay attention to your own body.

"We always advise that if anyone develops pain in their legs or chest, or shortness of breath, they should seek medical help," Jane said.

And that's pretty invaluable advice. Don't panic and catastrophise that your pill will be the death of you; just be aware of your body and if you notice any changes, make sure you go and see a doctor.

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