Yaz is associated with gallbladder disease, an extremely painful and debilitating disorder that occurs when the gallbladder becomes suddenly inflamed, or when gallstones develop. Around half of people who have gallbladder disease require surgery to remove the gallbladder, which can be very painful, expensive, and debilitating.
Yaz (drospirenone / ethinyl estradiol) is a new birth control pill that has been the source of great controversy in recent years. Since the conclusion of several massive studies, Yaz has been linked to as much as a three-fold increased risk of blood clots. Yaz has also been linked to gallbladder disease and other severe side effects.
Despite these risks, many women were unaware of these side effects when they decided to use Yaz. Bayer was cited in three warning letters sent by the FDA. The FDA was concerned that the advertisements implied that Bayer’s new birth control pills were superior to older birth control pills and could improve a woman’s quality of life.
After more than 10 years of growing scientific evidence, the FDA announced in 2012 that they would force Bayer to update the warnings on Yaz birth control pills. The new label will warn women that drospirenone has been linked to as much as a three-fold increased risk of blood clots over non-drospirenone birth control pills.
Yaz Gallbladder Disease
Yaz contains 3-mg drospirenone and 0.02-mg ethinyl estradiol, two synthetic hormones that reduce a woman’s risk of getting pregnant. Unfortunately, there is growing evidence linking the use of hormones (especially estrogen) to an increased risk of gallbladder disease.
It is unknown exactly how Yaz affects the gallbladder. One theory is that the hormones in Yaz have a diuretic effect, and over a prolonged period of time, this increases the risk of gallstones. Another theory is that Yaz causes calcified particles of cholesterol to accumulate in the gallbladder, which can form the basis of gallstones. Yet another theory is that the hormones in Yaz decrease the release of bile from the gallbladder.
What is Gallbladder Disease?
Gallbladder disease is a disorder of a digestive organ called the gallbladder, which is located just beneath the liver. The gallbladder is responsible for storing bile, a substance produced by the liver that aids in the break-down of fats and grease in food. The gallbladder also concentrates bile by removing water.
Gallbladder disease usually takes one of two forms: inflammation of the gallbladder, or gallstones.
Women are twice as likely to have gallbladder disease compared to men. This is because many women use birth control, hormone replacement therapy, or have high estrogen levels after pregnancy. High levels of hormones, such as estrogen, have been linked to an increased risk of gallbladder disease.
One of the most common disorders that can affect the gallbladder is gallstones, which are small, hard particles. They vary widely in size, from a grain of sand up to the size of a golfball. Large gallstones can fill the gallbladder and cause serious, permanent damage to the organ.
When the gallbladder is severely damaged, it may be necessary to have surgery to remove the gallbladder. This surgery is called a cholecystectomy, and around half of people with gallbladder disease require this surgery.
Signs & Symptoms of Yaz Gallbladder Disease
Gallbladder disease often has relatively mild symptoms, usually mild pain in the upper abdominal region following the ingestion of a fatty or greasy meal. These early symptoms may be mistaken for another digestive problem, which may delay diagnosis.
Symptoms of Yaz gallbladder disease may include:
- Pain in the gallbladder, located just underneath the ribcage on the right side of the body
- Severe upper abdominal pain, which may last for 15 minutes or several hours (called a gallbladder attack)
- Nausea, vomiting
- Burping, belching
- Pain that may occur at night, or after the person eats a fatty/greasy meal — though pain may also occur without warning