Background: There is little evidence as to whether the use of oral contraceptives(OC) during the fertile years affects the development of postmenopausal hypertension. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of past use of OC on the development of hypertension in postmenopausal women.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted using data from the Fifth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of postmenopausal women. Subjects were classified into three groups based on past OC use duration: nonusers, short-term users(0–30months), and long-term users(≥30 months). We evaluated the development of hypertension in women after menopause. A multivariable logistic regression model was used to identify the association between the use of OC during the fertile years and the prevalence of hypertension after menopause following adjustment for potential confounding factors.
Results: Of the 3,386 postmenopausal women, 2,713 were nonusers of OC, 489 were short-term users, and 184 were long-term users. Women who had used OC for 30 months or more had a significantly greater prevalence of hypertension after menopause than those who had never taken OC. The association between taking OC for 30 months or more during the fertile years and the prevalence of hypertension after menopause was significant following adjustment for potential confounding factors (aOR:1.92; 95%CI:1.22–3.00).
Conclusion: This study identified an association between past OC use and an increased prevalence of hypertension in postmenopausal women. Our results suggest that long-term use of OC during the fertile years can be an important risk factor for subsequent hypertension after menopause.