What was commonly known as the Sexual Revolution back in the 1960s and early 1970s burst on the scene due to the invention and FDA approval of the birth control pill. That little pill managed to change how the US and the rest of world think about sexual health, and still does today.
Originally invented to prevent pregnancy, today researchers say birth control may protect you from certain cancers.
Birth Control Today
There are approximately 61 million women of reproductive age in the US, and it is believed that 10 million use birth control pills. Today’s pill differs from the earlier type in that they are more effective and safer than the older versions.
As with any medication, there are both risks and benefits to using them. The primary reason has always been to prevent unwanted pregnancy, but over the years researchers have discovered some additional benefits to taking the pill.
Birth Control Pills Offer Protection From Certain Cancers
Not only does the birth control pill lower the risk of developing ovarian cancer, but the longer a woman takes it, the lower her risk becomes. A recent study showed a 21% reduction in ovarian cancers after taking the pill. In fact, the low risk factor can last even after someone stops taking it. In addition, because the pill suppresses ovulation, many women find they have less ovarian cysts.
The same is true of colon cancer and endometrial cancer. With the latter, birth control pills help to keep the uterus flat. Some doctors may prescribe birth control to women with a high risk of colon or ovarian cancer for just the reason of preventing the disease.
Benefits For Pre and Post Menopausal Women
Taking birth control during this transition can greatly ease symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. It also aids with menopausal migraines.
More General Benefits
- The pill can help control acne because it slows down the release of the male hormone causing acne.
- Reduces the pain of menstrual cramps.
- Helps to make the menstrual cycle more regular.
- Lightens the flow during a period.
- Improves iron deficiency.
- Helps to control the pain of endometriosis.
Although taking oral contraceptives poses many benefits beyond preventing unwanted pregnancy, it is not for everyone.
Talk to All About Women OB/GYN at (703) 437-0001 about the risks and benefits of taking birth control pills and if it is the right option for you.