The hormones in Beyaz (estrogen and progestin) are associated with an increased risk of acute pancreatitis. The pancreas is a digestive organ in the abdomen. During an attack of pancreatitis, the pancreas can rupture and spill digestive enzymes into the abdomen. Pancreatitis is a medical emergency, and many people must have surgery to prevent severe injury, infection, disability, or death.
Beyaz is an oral contraceptive, very similar to Yaz. Beyaz and Yaz each contain the same synthetic hormones — specifically, 3-mg of a new synthetic progestin called drospirenone, and 0.02-mg of a synthetic estrogen called ethinyl estradiol. Unlike Yaz, Beyaz contains a supplemental 0.451-mg of folic acid.
Why does Beyaz contain folate? Though it seems counter-intuitive, Beyaz contains folate to reduce the risk of birth defects. Beyaz is quite effective at preventing pregnancy when taken exactly as directed — fewer than 1 per 100 women get pregnant. Unfortunately, it is actually quite common for women to take Beyaz incorrectly. One pill must be taken every day at the same time. Most women are inconsistent, and the risk of getting pregnant increases to 9 per 100. Neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida, are often caused by low folate levels. Beyaz reduces the risk of spina bifida, anencephaly, and other neural tube defects.
High levels of hormones increase the risk of pancreatitis. Women are more likely than men to get pancreatitis, mostly because women frequently use hormonal contraceptives, hormone therapy, or have high hormones after pregnancy. The estrogen in Beyaz is likely the source of pancreatitis; it may change the way a woman’s body metabolizes lipids, or levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream.
What is Acute Pancreatitis?
Acute pancreatitis affects the pancreas. The pancreas is an organ in the digestive system. It is located near the stomach, and it produces powerful enzymes that aid in the digestion of food. It also produces metabolic hormones (specifically, insulin and glucagon) which trigger cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream.
When something triggers enzymes within the pancreas to attack pancreatic tissue, the pancreas becomes inflamed. The inflammation may be sudden and severe. It may spiral out of control, involving the entire pancreas. This is usually painful enough that a person goes to the hospital, is diagnosed with pancreatitis, and receives treatment.
If the inflammation is not controlled, the pancreas may begin hemorrhaging. It is very difficult to stop this bleeding. It can cause parts of the pancreas to become deprived of oxygenated blood, which causes these sections to die. Damaged sections of the pancreas may begin leaking digestive enzymes into the abdomen, which is the cause of the most serious pancreatitis complications.
Infection is one of the biggest risks. An infection may spread easily to damaged tissues in the abdomen, and once this occurs, sepsis, multiple organ system failure, and death can quickly occur.
Signs & Symptoms of Beyaz Pancreatitis
Any women who takes Beyaz could get pancreatitis. There is a small risk of this side effect even for women who have no medical history or family history of the disease.
Beyaz pancreatitis symptoms include:
- Severe abdominal pain that grows progressively worse.
- The pain is located in the middle, or upper-left region of the abdomen
- Pain may radiate to the back, shoulder, or other part of the abdomen
- Nausea, vomiting
- Oily, smelly stools
- Ill appearance
Treatment & Prognosis of Beyaz Pancreatitis
Abdominal pain usually prompts people to seek emergency medical treatment. People who are diagnosed with acute pancreatitis must be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). They will need aggressive treatment to prevent or stop infection from growing worse. Surgery may be required to remove damaged or dead abdominal tissue to prevent an infection from growing significantly worse.