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Doc Check Yourself Before Asking For Alesse

Updated on February 13, 2008

Take your history to the doc's if you want the pill

I know it seems alarming and quite off -putting to be considering a list of medical conditions that would STOP you from using Alesse or any other oral contraceptive pill, when all you may want right now are simple facts and a prescription for 3 months supply! Oral contraceptives are highly effective at preventing pregnancy but before you rush off to the clinic and demand to be 'put on the pill', you owe it your body and your future health to make sure that you are NOT placing yourself at 'high risk' of developing a serious disease that could cause temporary or permanent disability or death.

Most of you probably know that if you are pregnant, or miss two menstrual periods in a row, you should stop taking the contraceptive pill and get to the doctor as soon as possible. The hormones in Alesse can pass into breast milk or slow down milk production so safe guard your baby's health by NOT taking Alesse if you are breastfeeding.

How many female friends do you know who are on the pill and who are overweight or who still smoke? (or both!) Hmm...would they think you were a 'wally' if you suggested that they have another chat with their doctor?

At least you can arm yourself with information to take to the doctor's by quickly scrolling through the list below and jotting down anything that 'rings a bell' - then pat yourself on the back for being a ' savvy and responsible girl', grab your purse (with your notes) and head off to get the most out of that consultation.

Do not use Alesse if you have:

  • a history of a stroke or a history of heart attack, seizures or epilepsy
  • a history of depression
  • a history of fibrocystic breast disease, lumps, nodules, or an abnormal mammogram
  • blood clots in the legs, varicose veins, blood clots in the lungs or eyes
  • high cholesterol or if you are overweight or have severe high blood pressure
  • circulation problems (especially if caused by diabetes) or a heart valve disorder
  • angina (chest pain)
  • uterine fibroid tumors or a hormone-related cancer such as breast or uterine cancer, cervical or vaginal cancer
  • abnormal or unexplained vaginal bleeding or a history of irregular menstrual cycles
  • current liver disease or liver cancer
  • severe migraine headaches
  • tuberculosis
  • yellowing of the whites of the eyes or of the skin (jaundice) during pregnancy or during previous use of the pill
  • a need for surgery that requires prolonged bedrest afterwards
  • a known allergy to the active ingredients in Aless (levonorgestrel and ethinylestradiol)

OK, so you ticked NO to all of the above, filled the prescription and have started your first pack of Alesse (or other brand of contraceptive pill) and so far so good.....not wishing to make a hypochondriac out of you, it would be irresponsible of me not to follow up with a final Check Yourself 'watch out for' list so here 'tis....


If any of these adverse effects occur while you are taking oral contraceptives, call your health-care provider immediately:

· Sharp chest pain, coughing of blood, or sudden shortness of breath (indicating a possible clot in the lung).

· Pain in the calf (indicating a possible clot in the leg).

· Crushing chest pain or heaviness in the chest (indicating a possible heart attack).

· Sudden severe headache or vomiting, dizziness or fainting, disturbances of vision or speech, weakness, or numbness in an arm or leg (indicating a possible stroke).

· Sudden partial or complete loss of vision (indicating a possible clot in the eye).

· Breast lumps (indicating possible breast cancer or fibrocystic disease of the breast; ask your health-care provider to show you how to examine your breasts).

· Severe pain or tenderness in the stomach area (indicating a possibly ruptured liver tumor).

· Difficulty in sleeping, weakness, lack of energy, fatigue, or change in mood (possibly indicating severe depression).

· Jaundice or a yellowing of the skin or eyeballs, accompanied frequently by fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, dark-colored urine, or light-colored bowel movements (indicating possible liver problems).

Sources: Manufacturer's information- Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc.Philadelphia


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