The birth control pill, the most studied medication in the world, reaches its 50-year milestone this month. Originally intended solely for pregnancy prevention, decades of research have shown a host of health benefits from the birth control pill and other forms of hormonal contraception, including cancer prevention and relief from menstruation disorders. The pill also led to the development of a wide range of other hormonal contraceptives, including transdermal patches, the vaginal ring, implants, injections, and intrauterine devices (IUDs), that have broadened women’s options.

The pill also protects a woman’s future health against cancer. Long-term pill use can lower the risk of ovarian cancer by about 40%, and possibly up to 80% for women who take the pill for a decade or more. The pill also reduces the risk of endometrial cancer—the most common gynecological cancer in the US—by up to 50% and protection may last up to 15 years after discontinuing it.

Women on the pill also have a reduced risk of pelvic inflammatory disease requiring hospitalization, acne, benign breast disease, and ectopic pregnancy. The pill also helps prevent anemia, heavy uterine bleeding, and endometriosis pain. Experts believe that many of the other types of hormonal contraception will offer similar health benefits as the pill.

The pill remains one of the safest and most popular forms of contraception in the US. No other single medication has empowered American women and impacted their quality of life as has the pill. The challenge ahead is to improve more widespread and consistent use of contraception to help reduce the number of unplanned and undesired pregnancies.

According to Hal Lawrence, MD, Vice President of Practice Activities at The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “While pregnancy prevention may be the foremost reason why a woman might use oral contraception, she is also protecting her future health. For example, the longer a woman is on the pill, the greater her protection against ovarian cancer. Long-term pill use can lower the risk of ovarian cancer by about 40%, and possibly up to 80% for women who take the pill for a decade or more.”

The pill also reduces the risk of endometrial cancer—the most common gynecological cancer in the US—by up to 50% and protection may last up to 15 years after discontinuing it. Women on the pill also have a reduced risk of pelvic inflammatory disease requiring hospitalization, acne, benign breast disease, and ectopic pregnancy. The pill also helps prevent anemia, heavy uterine bleeding, and endometriosis pain. Experts believe that many of the other types of hormonal contraception confer similar health benefits as the pill.

The pill remains one of the safest and most popular forms of contraception in the US. No other single medication has empowered American women and impacted their quality of life as has the pill. “The challenge ahead is to improve more widespread and consistent use of contraception in the US to help reduce the number of unplanned and undesired pregnancies,” said Dr. Lawrence.

Click here for full article.

Republished by Blog Post Promoter