More and more women are reporting negative side effects as a result of taking the popular, aggressively-marketed contraceptive hormone Yaz and its sibling medication Yasmin. Studies in Europe and America alike have shown a consistent link between taking these medicines and experiencing thickened blood, resulting in increased clotting and cardiovascular risks. One such risk is having either an ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke.

An ischemic stroke is death in brain tissue caused by an interruption in the blood supply. Such interruptions are frequently a result of arteries that have been clogged with blood clots. A hemorrhagic stroke results when the blood vessels in the brain burst, leading to bleeding between the brain and the skull, or between brain hemispheres.

Ischemic strokes are the less dangerous of the two, but are still deadly serious. Symptoms include varying degrees and durations of paralysis, a loss of coordination, numbness in one or more parts of the body, confusion or dizziness and difficulty speaking clearly. There is the potential for long-term damage depending on the duration of the blockage and how much damage has grown in the period between the stroke and treatment. Approximately one in three patients go on from an ischemic stroke to regain full function of his body.

Hemorrhagic strokes are incredibly dangerous. They can and do result in death if left untreated, so any medication like Yaz must be treated and prescribed with respect when such an occurrence is a risk. They are often signaled by a sudden, severe headache. Symptoms spread rapidly from the onset of the headache, and often appear very similar to those of an ischemic stroke: partial paralysis, confusion and trouble speaking and moving.

In either case, rapid medical treatment is the key to surviving and mitigating the damage caused by a stroke. However, this is only the first part of the story. Recovering from a stroke can be a long, expensive process. Access to medical care is universally expensive, and rehabilitative therapy requires a degree of investment that can be difficult to endure.