Influence of hormonal contraceptives on peripheral vascular function and structure in premenopausal females: a review Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Hormonal contraceptives are one of the most widely used prescriptions for premenopausal women worldwide. Although the risk of venous and arterial cardiovascular events (e.g., deep vein thrombosis, arterial clotting) with hormonal contraceptives, specifically oral contraceptive pills, has been established, the literature on early risk indicators, such as peripheral vascular structure and function has yet to be consolidated. The purpose of this review is to summarize literature examining the impact of different hormonal contraceptives on vascular function and structure, including consideration of phasic differences within a contraceptive cycle, and to propose future directions for research. It is evident that hormonal contraceptive use appears to impact both macrovascular and microvascular endothelial function, with phasic differences in some contraceptive types dependent on progestin type, the ratio of ethinyl estradiol-to-progestin, and route of administration. However, hormonal contraceptives do not appear to impact smooth muscle function in the macrovasculature or microvasculature, arterial stiffness, or vascular structure. Underlying mechanisms for observed impacts and areas of future research are discussed. This review provides timely consolidation of research examining hormonal contraceptives and peripheral vascular function and structure and provides guidance on considerations for hormonal contraceptive use in study design.

publication date

  • January 1, 2021