Can Birth Control Pills Cause Liver Enzymes to Be Elevated?

Updated April 17, 2017

Liver enzymes become elevated with inflammation of the liver, which has multiple causes and implications. Oral contraception may cause liver enzyme elevation.


Elevated liver enzymes signify liver inflammation and potential liver damage. Patients with liver disease have elevated liver enzymes. The diagnosis of elevated enzymes for patients who take birth control pills depends on other factors related to the liver condition.


A liver function test is a blood test that measures the levels of enzymes, as well as blood clot indicators, significant to the health and functionality of the liver.

Effect on Liver Function

The liver is responsible for hormone regulation. Birth control pills affect this function: oestrogen hormones can inhibit the metabolism of significant liver enzymes, increasing those enzymes in the bloodstream. Such increased levels can result in liver damage.

Existing Liver Conditions

Women with existing liver conditions, such as hepatitis or cirrhosis, should not take birth control pills, and in some cases, may not be allowed a prescription for the pill, according to a Feminist Women's Health Center report on This is because such conditions are characterised by liver inflammation, which will worsen with hormone ingestion.


Liver enzymes will increase substantially for patients who take birth control pills and drink heavily. Alcoholism causes liver inflammation and can lead to liver disease, and combining birth control-induced liver inflammation and alcohol-induced liver inflammation increases the overall risk for liver disease.


Patients taking birth control pills should consult their doctor regarding liver concerns. The liver is responsible for performing more than 400 functions per day, according to the University of Southern California Department of Surgery, and its damage or dysfunction leads to a plethora of health problems, often irreversible.

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About the Author

Isobel Washington has been a freelance journalist since 2007. Washington's work first surfaced in Europe, where she served as a restaurant critic and journalist for "LifeStyles" magazine. Her love of travel and culture inspired her first novel, which is currently underway. Washington has a 10-year career in marketing communication and holds a Bachelor of Science degree.