Health & Wellness

The Pill’s Positives

10.31.10 Birth_Control_Pills

Let’s be real. Most women already know that taking the pill can prevent unplanned pregnancies.  After all, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill. And for the past half-century, women have been reaping the contraceptive benefits. But many of us don’t consider the other healthy benefits that can come with regularly taking birth control.  Of course, you should always check with your doctor. But check out this list of reasons you might consider taking the pill.

1)    Reduces the risk of ovarian cancer: Just five years on the pill can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by 50 percent. And about ten years on the pill a whopping 80 percent. And doctors say this benefit can last for up to 30 years. The pill also reduces the risk of endometrial cancer in the lining of the uterus.

2)    Decreases menstrual cramps and bleeding: Lots of women are bothered, some seemingly paralyzed, by menstrual cramps and heavy bleeding. Well, the pill reduces the cramps and the amount and duration of bleeding. And recently birth control has been made available which allows women to have only four menstrual periods per year.

3)    Less anemia: Anemia, often triggered by heavy bleeding, can lead to pallor, fatigue and shortness of breath. In its most severe forms, anemia can be life-threatening.  But women on the pill have less blood loss and therefore often have less trouble with anemia.

4)    Less acne and unwanted hair growth: Not all pills have FDA approval for treatment of acne. However for many women, acne improves with most all pills.  Women on the pill experience not only have clearer complexions but lessen unwanted hair growth.

5)    Reduces the risk of ectopic pregnancy: An ectopic pregnancy is where the pregnancy is located outside the uterus. Women who take the pill already have a very low chance of pregnancy. So as a result, the risk of ectopic pregnancy is also reduced.

Written by: Ingrid Rodi, MD

Dr. Ingrid Rodi is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in both the specialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the sub-specialty of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.  She is a member of the Clinical Faculty of the UCLA School of Medicine, where she is involved in teaching residents and fellows, as well as in clinical research.

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