(NewsUSA) – There are more than 60 million women of child-bearing age in the U.S. who use some form of birth control. While research shows that birth control pills are safe and effective, as with any medication, they can pose some risks.

One risk associated with birth control pills or hormonal birth control that contains estrogen, such as the pill, patch, or ring, is life-threatening blood clots. Using birth control pills with estrogen increases a woman’s risk for blood clots three-fold. Women with a clotting disorder, previous blood clot, or family history of blood clots are at an even greater risk.

Women considering hormonal birth control should know their risk for blood clots, and talk to their health care provider about any personal or family history of blood clots to assess their risk. They can also complete a risk assessment at www.womenandbloodclots.org and discuss what they find with their doctor if they have any concerns.

It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of blood clots in the legs or arms, such as swelling, pain or tenderness not caused by an injury; and skin that is warm to the touch, red, or discolored. Blood clots in the legs or arms that are left untreated, or that break apart and travel to your lungs, can be deadly. Symptoms of a blood clot in a lung may include difficulty breathing; chest pain that worsens with a deep breath or cough; coughing up blood; and a faster than normal irregular heartbeat.

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these signs or symptoms. Learn more about birth control and blood clot risks at www.womenandbloodclots.org.