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Is it bad to be on birth control for a long time?

By Blogger July 17, 2014 - 2:03pm
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I've taken birth control for over 10 years. I know that it is safe, but I also hear there are studies that have ruled otherwise. Should I switch to another form?

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Hello Hayden,

The current trend is to take oral contraceptives for as long as you need to use birth control or reach menopause. This applies to both combination and progestin only pills.

However, birth control pills are not recommended for women age 35 or older who smoke and women who have certain medical conditions, such as blood-clotting disorders or uncontrolled high blood pressure.

It was once thought that prolonged use of birth control pills would interfere with a woman's subsequent ability to conceive. This has been proven to be false.

In the past, doctors used to recommend taking an occasional break from birth control pills, but this offers no benefits and may increase your risk of an unplanned pregnancy.

While some research suggests that prolonged use of birth control pills increases the risk of certain types of cancer, such as cervical cancer and liver cancer, other studies found the use of birth control pills also decreases the risk of other types of cancer, such as ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.

Controversy exists regarding the link between use of birth control pills and the risk of developing breast cancer. Some research indicates that birth control pills slightly increase the risk of breast cancer. But found that 10 or more years after stopping the pill, a woman's breast cancer risk returns to the same level as if she had never taken birth control pills. Other studies don't support a link between birth control pills and breast cancer.

Hayden, if you are concerned about long term use of birth control pills, discuss the risks and benefits with your gynecologist.


July 22, 2014 - 5:45pm
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