Lupus is an autoimmune condition that can cause symptoms such as muscle and joint pain, fever, and rashes. Certain forms of birth control are safer and more effective for people with lupus.

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Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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Lupus causes the immune system to target tissue in a person’s body, leading to inflammation. This can cause a range of side effects.

Women are about nine times more likely to get lupus than men. The condition can complicate pregnancy, so many individuals with lupus choose to take birth control. Several different birth control methods can safely prevent pregnancy for people with lupus.

This article examines why certain forms of birth control are more suitable for lupus. Keep reading to learn more about the relationship between lupus and birth control.

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Certain individuals with lupus are at a higher risk of developing blood clots. Such individuals should avoid forms of birth control that further increase the risk of blood clots. These methods may include:

Estrogen patches deliver high estrogen levels at a constant rate and, in some cases, can worsen lupus symptoms.

Learn more about changing birth control methods.

Individuals with lupus may experience additional health issues and complications during pregnancy. For these reasons, people may wish to use birth control methods to prevent pregnancy.

Learn more about the different birth control types.

Hormonal methods

Hormonal birth control alters hormone levels to prevent pregnancy. They can stop ovaries from releasing eggs or stop sperm progress. These options are highly effective and available in many forms, including:

  • pills
  • Depo-Provera shots
  • implants
  • insertable rings

Hormonal birth control options contain either progestin or a combination of estrogen and progestin. Progestin-only birth control is typically safe for people with lupus. However, methods involving estrogen can increase a person’s risk of blood clots in cases of advanced lupus or people predisposed to clotting.

Barrier methods

Barrier birth control methods physically prevent sperm from reaching eggs. Barrier methods include:

These options are safe for individuals with lupus but less effective than other methods. In the United States, 18–24% of pregnancies occur each year using a barrier method.

Learn more about nonhormonal birth control methods.

Intrauterine devices (IUDs)

IUDs are small, T-shaped devices that a doctor inserts into the uterus. An IUD prevents pregnancy by changing sperm cell movements so these cells cannot reach and fertilize an egg.

This form of birth control is one of the most effective options available. It effectively prevents pregnancy more than 99% of the time.

Individuals with lupus can use a copper IUD or an IUD that contains progestin. A copper IUD lasts up to 10 years, while a progestin-containing IUD lasts between 3 and 5 years.

Individuals living with lupus should consult a doctor if they plan to begin a new method of birth control. It is important to share any new symptoms during this discussion. Certain symptoms may indicate a person is at risk of blood clots. These symptoms include:

People with lupus who are at risk of developing blood clots should avoid certain birth control options. A person can speak with a medical professional to learn more.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that increases inflammation throughout the body. It is more common in females and can lead to health problems during pregnancy.

Many forms of birth control are available to people with lupus. These include IUDs, progestin-based pills, and barrier methods. Certain types of hormonal birth control may be dangerous for individuals with lupus who have a high risk for blood clots.

Anyone with lupus should speak with a doctor before trying any new form of birth control. With the right support, it is possible to find a comfortable and effective option.