The contraceptive pill is a topic we’ve covered a bit here at Amodrn. We’ve put forward questions such as: How bad is the contraceptive pill for you really?What actually happens to your body when you come off the pill?How do you stop the pill without your skin freaking out?
Although the contraceptive pill is quite extremely complex, there are a few things we know for sure — it helps prevent pregnancy, regulates your period, helps balance your hormones and assists in clearing acne, so it’s no surprise that millions of women rely on birth control pills as part of their daily routine.
But more and more research is showing that women who take oral contraceptives also get another added benefit: they are at a lower risk of some cancers, namely ovarian and endometrial cancer.
In one particular study, published in the journal JAMA Oncology, researchers found that women who took the birth control pill had not only lower risk of those cancers, but the longer they took the pill, the more their risk reduced over time. And if they took the pill for 10 years or longer, their risk was 40 percent lower.
“We found long-term oral contraceptive use reduced ovarian cancer risk universally — it didn’t matter how healthy you were later in life or if you had a family history of the disease; all women experienced the benefit,” said senior study author, Britton Trabert.
However, while the study specifically looked at ovarian and endometrial cancer, they did not find the same effect on breast cancer. Instead, earlier research shows that women who took oral contraceptives actually had a higher risk of breast cancer.
“Oral contraceptives are primarily used for preventing pregnancy and managing menstrual cycle symptoms,” says study author Kara Michels. “Our study indicates that for women with different underlying cancer risks when they are older, their earlier oral contraceptive use is likely still beneficial for cancer prevention. Better understanding of the risks and benefits of these medications may help physicians and their patients make informed decisions about using oral contraceptives.”
This isn’t the first recent news about the possible side effects of the birth control pill. Just last year, researchers at the American Journal of Psychiatry found that women who take hormonal birth control are at higher risk for suicide, and it can possibly affect your libido and gut health over the years.
As always, it is recommended you speak to your doctor about the best contraceptive decision to best fit your lifestyle to stay protected, healthy, and safe.