Hormonal birth control pills have been linked to idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). This condition can cause chronic headaches, blindness, and require surgical treatment. Unfortunately, some cases result in permanent vision loss.
What is Beyaz?
Beyaz is a birth control pill. It contains two female hormones, estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and progestin (drospirenone). Beyaz also contains folic acid, a B vitamin that reduces the chances of having a baby with a birth defect like spina bifida.
Beyaz and Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH)
No studies have found a causal connection between Beyaz and idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). The term “idiopathic” means “of unknown cause.” Researchers have identified dozens of risk-factors that could potentially cause IIH, including birth control pills.
Over 50 cases of IIH were associated with subdermal contraceptive implants containing levonorgestrel in a study published in 1995. Progestin-only injections and exogenous estrogen have also been associated with IIH.
Beyaz and Blood Clots
The FDA has warned that Beyaz contains ingredients that have been associated with up to a three-fold increased risk of blood clots. When these blood clots travel to the brain, they can increase pressure inside the skull in a complication known as “secondary intracranial hypertension.”
What is IIH?
Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is a disease that causes high pressure inside the skull. Normally, the brain is cushioned from traumatic impacts with a layer of cerebrospinal fluid. IIH occurs when levels of this fluid increase, putting pressure on the brain.
Complications of IIH
- Blindness: IIH puts pressure on the optic nerve, which transmits information between the brain and eyes. This can cause progressive loss of visual field, enlargement of the blind spot, double-vision, blurry vision, and blindness.
- Hearing problems: Delicate internal structures of the ears can be affected by IIH, producing symptoms of tinnitus — ringing or “whooshing” in the ears, and more.
- Headaches: Nearly 6% of women on Beyaz reported headaches in clinical trials. Headaches are also reported by over 90% of people with IIH. These headaches are often severe and they can become constant.