Yesterday on Instagram, model Hailey Bieber posted a video with caption “sharing my story” to explain her recent hospitalization after experiencing stroke-like symptoms. She describes how she was sitting at a meal with husband Justin Bieber, when suddenly she felt tingling down her arm, facial drooping, and the inability to speak.
The 25 year old said, “All these thoughts were running through my head,” and she wondered if she would have permanent side effects afterwards. After undergoing hospital testing, doctors confirmed she had experienced a “mini-stroke” due to a blood clot in her brain, but that she seemed to be recovering well.
As to why she had a blood clot, and especially at such a young age, Bieber cited a few reasons: a heart condition that had gone undiagnosed, a recent long flight, and the fact that she had started taking birth control pills. WebMD reports that the chance of blood clots is 2 to 6 times greater among women taking the pill, compared to women who don’t use birth control.
Bieber advised fans to talk to their doctors about the risks of birth control, especially if they have any history of migraines, which are a known risk factor for clots when taking the pill.
Her advice comes among growing concerns among women about the hormones in contraceptives. Last summer, the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine rollout was paused due to concerns about blood clots in women, even though the risk was far less than that of the birth control pills frequently prescribed to women. The New York Times shared the story of Kelly Tyrrell, an ultramarathon runner in Madison Wisconsin, who was advised to stop taking estrogen after clots were found in her lungs.
The conversation around birth control and women’s health has been growing for years. Six years ago, an Emmy Award winning television host and veteran film producer began working on the documentary The Business of Birth Control, which was finally released last November in NYC. Back in 2017, fertility tracking app Natural Cycles raised $30 million in Series B funding for their approach, which they call “digital contraception.”
While women continue exploring options to ditch hormonal birth control because of the side effects, attempts to develop a male version keep getting halted by men upset by the side effects.