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side effect of birth control pill?

I have been on Tri Sprintec for well over a decade and done well with it.  I believe I first went on Ortho Tri Cyclen around 1995 and was switched to the generic Tri Sprintec in the early 2000s.  Around 2006 I started having a problem with moderate fluid retention in my ankles, along with many, many symptoms of thyroid disease, but my TSH is always fine and I have no diagnosis of any thyroid illness.

The fluid retention is not cyclical.  It has persisted day in day out and there's no pain or anything, although aesthetically it's always been extremely bothersome.  Initially, and several time over the years, I've been told to simply elevate my feet and cut my salt intake.  

It was suggested to me by a doctor that the Tri Sprintec could be causing the fluid retention, so in October 2009 I got off the pill.  I saw no improvement in the ankle swelling, but I did begin to develop acne, so I got back on Tri Sprintec in Feb 2010.

During the last week of May 2010 my ankles began to swell to a much more severe degree than they ever have.  Instead of just unsightly puffiness on the outer ankle they now swell up all the way around, and the swelling never goes away.  It is less severe when I first wake up, but still looks like I have two sprained ankles, and by the end of the day my ankles are huge, and at times they ache from what feels like pressure.  

I'm 5'4" 116lbs and I have the lower legs and ankles of an obese person.  This isn't and never has been pitting edema.  

This new much worse swelling has lasted about 8 weeks now.
I've tried everything and nothing works: compression stockings, extremely low salt diet, elevation - you name it.

The only factor I can think of that's causing this is the Tri Sprintec.  Can birth control pills cause edema even after having been on them for a long time, and could they cause a sudden worsening of edema out of the blue?  

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Edema can occur with oral contraceptive use, but it usually goes away after the first few months of therapy. Since you have been on this for years, the Tri-Sprintec is not likely to be the cause of your swelling.  However, you can try switching to a lower dose birth control to see if it will help.
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