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WSC 2022 | Stroke in women: oral contraceptives, pregnancy, and menopause

Christine Kremer, MD, Skåne University Hospital, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden, discusses the epidemiology of stroke in women. Over the years, the at-risk groups for stroke in women have shifted. For example, it is important to be aware that the occurrence of stroke in young women is on the rise and is significantly higher than in young men. Beyond smoking and cardiovascular risk factors, oral contraceptive use, migraine, pregnancy, and autoimmune conditions all contribute to increased stroke risk in young women. Pregnancy and post-partum are also important factors, with the incidence of stroke in pregnancy around 3 times higher than in young adults outside of pregnancy. Most strokes in the post-partum period occur within two weeks of childbirth, but the risk of stroke may remain elevated for up to 6 months. Dr Kremer also highlights menopause as a key consideration, with stroke risk increased for women in the 10 years following menopause. An increase in cardiovascular risk factors during this time and the effects of hormone replacement therapy should be noted. This interview took place at the World Stroke Congress 2022 in Singapore.