Hormonal birth control was first released in 1960, as a combined (estrogen and progestin) oral contraceptive pill. Since then, there has been an explosion of different options when it comes to hormonal contraception in addition to the pill – from patches to IUDs and even hormone injections. While family planning is an extremely important part of life that benefits by these tools, not all women use these devices just for birth control. From controlling their endometriosis or PCOS symptoms to correcting their menstrual cycles, many women are choosing to use hormonal cycle regulators to treat diseases. Recent studies show that there are even more health benefits to the hormonal contraceptives – they help lower the risk of ovarian cancer.
Research shows that cancer risk decreases through the use of hormonal birth control, even with contraception that contains lower amounts of estrogen. 1.8 million women who were prescribed hormonal birth control in Denmark and Scotland were studied and researchers found that 21% of ovarian cancers were prevented. Further, women who had used hormonal birth control for ANY time in their lives had a 35% lower ovarian cancer risk. The longer they used them, the better their chances were of not developing the cancer. Over 10 years of continual usage correlated to a 74% lower risk. While ovarian cancer is not as common as other cancers, the mortality rate is quite high. According to the American Cancer Society, only 47% of women survive five years after they are first diagnosed.
As with all medications, there are drawbacks to any of these hormonal birth controls. The pill has been linked to blood clots (rare), nausea, weight gain, mood changes, and decreased libido. The vast majority of women have no side effects after the first two to three months of use.
If you are interested in hormonal contraception for any reason, please schedule an appointment with your OBGYN to discuss further options.
El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems. Drs. Amy Teng, Erika Balassiano, and Pooja Gupta, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecgologic Surgery. Dr. Erika Balassiano is also completed a Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.
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