Sunday, March 14, 2010

Women on birth control pills live longer: Study

While previous studies had pointed out several complications with birth control pills, a new study says these pills can extend the lives of women taking them.

Oral contraceptive (OC) pills had long been linked to an increased risk of death particularly among older women and those who smoke.

According to the study published in the British Medical Journal; however, women on oral contraceptives are less likely to die from various serious and common diseases including heart disease and cancer.

A slight increase in the risk of death was reported among women aged younger than 45 who were recent or current users. The associated risk, however, virtually disappeared after taking the OC pills for about 10 years.

By the time a woman reaches her 50s, the benefits outweigh the risks, the study considered. "Women, who used first generation oral contraceptives many years ago, are likely to be reassured by our results.

However, our findings might not reflect the experience of women starting or using oral contraceptives if preparations currently available in today's market have different risk potentials than earlier products tested," said lead researcher Philip Hannaford.

Scientists concluded that women who have taken OC pills over the long term are less prone to death from heart diseases and cancers such as bowel, uterine and ovarian tumors.

“We know that the Pill does cause changes in clotting factors and some of the factors in biochemistry, so the increased risk of heart disease and stroke is explainable,” they added.