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Yasmin User Facing Gallbladder Surgery

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Barry, ONCarolyn, 21, only took Yasmin for three months because she had a lot of bleeding followed by severe pain in her abdomen. "The pain was so bad I thought I was having a miscarriage," says Carolyn. "My doctor ordered an ultrasound and it showed that I had multiple gallstones. That happened two years ago, when nobody connected Yasmin with gallbladder disease."

Carolyn says she had never experienced gallbladder problems prior to this attack. "I was only 19 years old and it really shocked me," she says. "How could this happen? I don't even eat salt because my family has a history of heart attacks. I went to a gallbladder specialist and he advised me to have my gallbladder removed, but I'm too scared. I know it is inflamed; when I eat certain foods--especially greasy foods and dairy products--I get diarrhea and feel nauseated. And I don't want another scar--I've already had two C-sections and that's enough. But if I have one more attack like that last one, I know my gallbladder has to come out."

Gallbladder disease is one of several serious side effects reported by Yasmin and Yaz users. Both birth control pills have also been associated with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), stroke and heart attack.

This fourth generation birth control pill can cause gallstones because the hormones in Yasmin/Yaz may increase cholesterol levels in bile and decrease gallbladder movement, which can create gallstones. If gallstones become trapped in the bile ducts, they can create serious problems. Laproscopic gallbladder surgery is the most common treatment.

Women like Carolyn who experience frequent gallstones or other recurring problems, including inflammation, will typically be advised to have surgery. If Carolyn doesn't opt for surgery, she likely faces gallbladder disease. Regardless, if gallstones are left untreated, both conditions can be serious and even life-threatening.

How Yasmin Contributes to Gallstones

Some health experts believe that Yasmin contributes to the formation of gallstones in two ways. First, evidence indicates that estrogen and drospirenone, two hormones found in fourth-generation birth control pills, increase the level of cholesterol secreted by the liver. A small amount of cholesterol is normally secreted by the liver into bile fluid, which travels with the bile down the common hepatic duct into your gallbladder, where the cholesterol is absorbed into the lining of the organ's wall. When cholesterol levels are elevated, the compound cannot be sufficiently absorbed and will eventually crystallize.

Second, these hormones may contribute to gallbladder stasis, which means the gallbladder contractions are less frequent and weaker. A healthy gallbladder contracts whenever fats enters the small intestine. These contractions push bile into the common bile duct, where it flows toward your small intestine, and aids the digestive process. If the gallbladder contracts less frequently and with less force, bile remains within the organ and it eventually turns into biliary sludge, setting the stage for gallstones. Even if stones are not formed, this material can inflame the inner lining of the gall bladder, which can lead to gallbladder disease.

Carolyn's problems will likely get worse if she doesn't have surgery soon. If the gallstones migrate far enough down the common bile duct, they can block the passage of digestive enzymes from the pancreas. This triggers pancreatitis, an extremely dangerous condition that can result in organ damage.

If you or someone you know has taken Yasmin or Yaz and suffered from gallstones, biliary pain or other gallbladder problems, you should speak to an attorney—you may have legal recourse.


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