Gallbladder disease and gallstones are a severe side effect of Yasmin birth control pills. Women who suffer from this disorder may have painful inflammation of the gallbladder, gallstones, a ruptured gallbladder, or other serious injury. Approximately half of women who suffer from Yasmin gallbladder disease will require a painful and expensive surgery to have their gallbladder removed.
If you took Yasmin birth control pills, you are probably already aware about the controversy surrounding this contraceptive medication. Yasmin contains two hormones: drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol. Scientific studies involving hundreds of thousands of women have concluded that Yasmin may triple a woman’s risk of a deadly blood clot. Another side effect of Yasmin is gallbladder disease, even among women with no history of the illness or other risk factors.
Litigation is now moving forward against Bayer, and many of the Yasmin lawsuits allege that the company misled women into choosing Yasmin over other, safer alternative contraceptives. The FDA has cited Bayer for implying that Yasmin was safer than older birth control pills in its TV advertisements. The ad campaign failed to communicate risk information and promoted Yasmin for medical conditions that were not approved by the FDA.
Yasmin Gallbladder Disease
Women are twice as likely to develop gallbladder disease compared to men. The reason likely has something to do with hormones. Women take hormonal birth control pills, hormone replacement treatments, and often have significantly elevated levels of estrogen in their body following pregnancy. Gallbladder disease is a known side effect of Yasmin.
It is not clear exactly how Yasmin increases the risk of gallbladder disease. There are several theories. One theory is that the hormones in Yasmin cause calcified particles of cholesterol to accumulate in the gallbladder, which then form accretions and become gallstones. Another theory is that hormonal therapies are mildly diuretic, and over time, this can increase the risk of developing gallstones. Yet another theory postulates that Yasmin decreases the flow of bile exiting the gallbladder, which can cause gallbladder disease.
What is Gallbladder Disease?
Yasmin gallbladder disease may involve a severe inflammation of the gallbladder, or the formation of gallstones. The gallbladder is a digestive organ primarily responsible for storing, concentrating, and secreting bile produced by the liver into the upper intestine. Bile is necessary for the break-down and digestion of fats in foods.
A common form of gallbladder disease is gallstones. These “stones” are accretions of small particles. A gallstone may be the size of a grain of sand, or the size of a golfball. Severe cases may involve dozens of gallstones that completely fill the gallbladder. This can cause permanent damage to the gallbladder and lead to failure of the organ.
About half of people who are diagnosed with gallbladder disease need to have surgery to remove the gallbladder. This surgery is called a cholecystectomy.
Signs & Symptoms of Gallbladder Disease
The initial symptoms of gallbladder disease may resemble indigestion, which is why some people delay seeking treatment. Gallbladder disease is usually not diagnosed until it begins causing severe, prolonged abdominal pain or other more serious symptoms.
Yasmin gallbladder disease symptoms may include:
- Pain in the upper abdominal area
- Pain just below the ribcage, on the right side of the body.
- Gallbladder attacks — abdominal pain that lasts for 15 minutes or several hours, or may only occur at night, or may only occur after eating a greasy meal
- Nausea, vomiting
- Burping, belching