A student nearly died after taking the contraceptive pill caused her to develop a blood clot which blocked her lungs.
Hannah Needham, 22, was found by her flatmates when she collapsed at their student house after feeling short of breath and dizzy for weeks.
She was rushed to hospital, where doctors discovered she had developed an embolism that had blocked her lungs and carried out risky treatment to break up the clot.
She has made a full recovery – but now wants to share her story to warn others of potential side effects of taking the pill.
Hannah, from Northampton, said: "I was shocked that a medication I felt safe taking, had such a traumatic effect on me, it was an eye-opening moment.
"To think that something so commonly used, by millions of women like myself across the world, can cause what I had to go through is scary, the more people I can reach with my story, the better.
"If I can help just one person avoid what the same fate that I endured then it's worth speaking out.
"I felt annoyed with myself for not taking the time to really understand what I was putting into my body; I'd not been feeling entirely myself for months leading up to my admission into hospital.
"I would sometimes feel dizzy and out of breath just from climbing the stairs – but I just put it down to overdoing it between uni and working.
"Up until the time I got to hospital I had completely underestimated the severity of the situation, even after I'd collapsed.
"Knowing that I had been actively taking the culprit daily, potentially making myself worse, really upset me."
Hannah, who now works as a biological technician, started taking the combined pill in September 2015 as a method of contraception.
But after just 18 months of taking the pill, in March 2017, she collapsed while at home – and was found by her worried housemate.
She slipped in and out of consciousness as paramedics attended to her and was immediately rushed to hospital, where doctors made the blood clot discovery as well as signs of heart failure.
Doctors have attributed her blood clot to taking a contraceptive pill for over a year before her collapse, the combined pill that she started taking was the first type she was offered by her GP and she continued to use it as it initially showed no negative side effects.
"I don't remember the brand name, but it was the combined pill that I seemed to get on with for the initial three month trial period," she continued.
"I was pretty confused and scared when I collapsed, I was very breathless and struggled to keep consciousness while talking to the paramedics.
"By the time I was at the hospital, I knew it was something serious and when they told me what it was, I just lay back and let them do anything they needed.
"I even refused local anaesthetic when the central line was being put in because I didn't want to waste any time. I think the adrenaline and my survival instinct just really kicked in.
"It may sound cliche to say, but it's given me a new perspective on life, you really never know what's going to happen in the future, so it's important to make the most of every day."
When she arrived at hospital, she was told she had a pulmonary embolism, which is when a blood clot gets caught in one of the arteries that go from the heart to the lungs.
Hannah said: "They put a central line into my heart, which allows anti-clotting medicine to be administered directly to the artery of the heart, so it gets around the body as quickly as possible.
In the resuscitation room, she had a central line put into her hearts main artery, which stabilised her condition and started to break up the clot.
She then spent three days in intensive care, followed by a further four days in the high care ward until she was well enough to be discharged.
Hannah said: "It was a really scary experience, but the lesson that it has taught me is invaluable and it's a lesson I'll remember whenever I am taking any kind of medication."
Hannah claims that doctors put her blood clot down to taking a contraceptive pill, with no additional risk factors.
Hannah is now completely recovered, and two years on has published her own magazine, called WONK, which she is using to educate young girls about science in a relatable way.
Source: Read Full Article