Women who took the birth control pill starting in the late 1960s lived longer
#1
Women who took the birth control pill starting in the late 1960s lived longer

By Maria Cheng, The Associated Press

LONDON - Women who took the birth control pill beginning in the late 1960s lived longer than those never on the pill, a new study says.

British researchers observed more than 46,000 women for nearly four decades from 1968. They compared the number of deaths in women on the pill to those who never took it.

In the study, women on the pill generally took it for almost four years. Experts concluded the pill cut women's risk of dying from bowel cancer by 38 per cent and from any other diseases by about 12 per cent.

The research was published Friday in the British medical journal, BMJ.

Slightly higher death rates were found among women under 30 on the pill, but that began to be reversed by age 50.

Doctors aren't sure exactly why the pill may lower death rates. It contains synthetic hormones to suppress ovulation, which may have some role in preventing certain diseases.

Previous studies have found the pill does not raise the risk of dying. It also may protect against ovarian and endometrial cancer, but slightly increase the chances of breast and cervical cancer. It may also be that women on the pill are somehow healthier than those that aren't.

Because the study only observed women on the pill compared with those who weren't, researchers weren't able to make any hypotheses about cause and effect.

"In the longer term, the health benefits of the contraceptive pill outweigh any risks," Richard Anderson, a gynecologist at the University of Edinburgh, said in a statement. Anderson was not connected to the BMJ study.

But he said the findings might not be projected to women using modern contraceptive pills, which may have a different risks than earlier products. The risks may also be higher depending on when women start taking the pill and how long they are on it.

"Many women, especially those who used the first generation of oral contraceptives many years ago, are likely to be reassured by our results," Philip Hannaford of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, the study's lead researcher, said in a statement.

Hannaford and colleagues said the pill's risks and benefits may vary worldwide, depending on how it is used and each patient's health risks.

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On the Net:

www.bmj.com

Copyright 2010 Canadian Press
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#2
Frequent ovulation seems to be risky to women's health, indeed. Of course, another alternative is for women to marry in their early 20s and immediately begin having a larger than average family, and breastfeeding each child for about two years ... but I don't suppose the medical establishment is going to promote that.
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#3
(03-13-2010, 10:32 AM)Satori Wrote: Frequent ovulation seems to be risky to women's health, indeed. Of course, another alternative is for women to marry in their early 20s and immediately begin having a larger than average family, and breastfeeding each child for about two years ... but I don't suppose the medical establishment is going to promote that.
Well, they do promote breastfeeding :)
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#4
Way for the authors of the article not to mention the hundreds of women who died from taking early, high-dose versions of the pill...
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#5
(03-13-2010, 05:51 PM)flannerywannabe Wrote: Way for the authors of the article not to mention the hundreds of women who died from taking early, high-dose versions of the pill...

Don't forget the higher rate of reproductive cancers in the daughters of these women.
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#6
It is in the best interest of the medical establishment to conduct studies in which finding support...the medical establishment!  I was talking about this study with a friend (who conducts studies) and we wonder whether the women who took the pill  simply went to the doctor more, therefore got more medical care.  We might go to the library and read the full journal article, or we might go to TJMaxx and look at purses; it's a tough call.
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#7
That birth control pill was available mainly to the middle class in the 1960's, so the statistics are tainted  by other differences between the group of women who were on the pill and those off it.  There are also many other medications that came into use for other reasons that would have been more available to the same class of women in the 1960's but not available to women who were not seeing doctors about "The Pill".  Many people in those days did not see doctors that often, regardless of economic status. 
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#8
(03-13-2010, 08:16 PM)littlerose Wrote: That birth control pill was available mainly to the middle class in the 1960's, so the statistics are tainted  by other differences between the group of women who were on the pill and those off it.  There are also many other medications that came into use for other reasons that would have been more available to the same class of women in the 1960's but not available to women who were not seeing doctors about "The Pill".  Many people in those days did not see doctors that often, regardless of economic status. 

excellent point. The longer livelihood is much more likely due to factors like improved nutrition, leisure, health education, etc., due to socioeconomic status.
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#9
(03-13-2010, 07:54 PM)Magnificat Wrote: It is in the best interest of the medical establishment to conduct studies in which finding support...the medical establishment!  I was talking about this study with a friend (who conducts studies) and we wonder whether the women who took the pill  simply went to the doctor more, therefore got more medical care.  We might go to the library and read the full journal article, or we might go to TJMaxx and look at purses; it's a tough call.

Handbags FTW. Much better for your mental health.
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#10
(03-13-2010, 08:26 PM)flannerywannabe Wrote:
(03-13-2010, 07:54 PM)Magnificat Wrote: It is in the best interest of the medical establishment to conduct studies in which finding support...the medical establishment!   I was talking about this study with a friend (who conducts studies) and we wonder whether the women who took the pill  simply went to the doctor more, therefore got more medical care.  We might go to the library and read the full journal article, or we might go to TJMaxx and look at purses; it's a tough call.

Handbags FTW. Much better for your mental health.

Maybe not - do you know that nowadays they sell really expensive handbags at TJ Maxx?  I saw a blue one that was pretty and noticed this weird flashing light hanging from it, and saw a price tag that said $299.  At first I thought it said $29.99, but nope.  The average price was about $60, and they were all really huge and horrible, like Conan The Barbarian-style purses. Now I have PTSD.  Where can you buy a normal purse these days? 
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