Birth control pills have been on the market for over 50 years. While this form of contraception is still very popular and highly successful among women, it is also known to have some positive effects on other aspects of your health. Here are eight ancillary benefits of taking birth control pills:
- It can make endometriosis more manageable. Hormone treatments may help slow the growth and local activity of both the endometrium and the endometrial lesions. Oral contraceptives help make your period lighter, more regular and shorter. Plus, it may provide relief from the pain.
- It can conserve your blood. As mentioned above, birth control pills make your period lighter so you lose less blood during your cycle. Diminishing the amount of flow has been known to help manage heavy, painful cycles.
- It can save you money on makeup and hair removal. The estrogen in the pill can reduce your testosterone levels. Less testosterone means that your body is making less sebum, the oily secretions of the sebaceous glands that can clog pores and create pimples. Less testosterone also means less unwanted hair growth.
- It can lower your risk of developing certain types of cancer. Studies show that birth control pills may lower your risk for both ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. After five years of use, your risk of developing ovarian cancer decreases by about 50 percent. For endometrial cancer, the protective effect increases with the length of time oral contraceptives are used and continues for several years after you stop taking them.
- It can shield you against pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). The pill causes your body to create thicker cervical mucus, making it more challenging for bacteria to reach your uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. This may help protect you from developing PID, a condition often caused by untreated sexually transmitted diseases.
- It can help with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progestin may help regulate your menstrual cycle. These pills decrease androgen production and give your body a break from the effects of continuous estrogen, lowering your risk of endometrial cancer and correcting abnormal bleeding.
- It can stabilize your mood during perimenopause. Birth control pills help put your natural ovarian function at rest and provide a steady level of hormones that keep brain function in balance.
- It can keep you healthy during flu season. A new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology reported that women who take an oral contraceptive with estrogen may have more protection from the flu virus than others. The researchers discovered that estrogen levels in women who took birth control pills reduced the amount of flu virus that replicated in infected cells.
To find out if birth control pills are right for you, call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.