The Non-Contraceptive Benefits of Birth Control Pills
Most women know about the contraceptive value of birth control pills and not
much more. While the pill started as just a contraceptive, it is now also approved
for emergency contraception. There are low dose pills available for use by women
in their 40's and progestin only pills for nursing mothers.
But "the pill" does far more than prevent pregnancy.
For years physicians have prescribed birth control pills
- to regulate heavy or irregular menstrual periods
- to treat ovarian cysts
- to decrease menstrual cramps or PMS
- to increase appetite in underweight women and
- to reduce acne.
We also know there are many other benefits to taking the pill. These include:
- decreasing the risk of ovarian, endometrial, and colorectal cancer; and
- decreasing the risk of osteoporosis
The pill is not for everyone. You may not take birth control pills
- may be pregnant
- have undiagnosed vaginal bleeding, a history of breast cancer, liver disease,
blood clots or stroke. The pill also has many potential side effects and
most are increased in smokers.
In its more than 40 years, the pill has come a long way to benefit women.
One thing it can't do, however: the pill can't work properly for any of these
uses if you don't take it properly.
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Created: 10/20/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.
Reviewed: 6/30/2003  - Donnica Moore, M.D.