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Birth Control Health Center

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Other Benefits of Birth Control Pills

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It can ease endometriosis. In this condition, tissue normally inside the uterus grows outside of it. It causes painful, heavy periods. Taking birth control pills can help ease the symptoms by thinning out the uterine lining, and, in the case of extended-cycle pills, blocking your period from happening each month.

It can help with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). This condition, which is brought on by a hormonal imbalance, causes irregular periods, acne, excess body hair, ovarian cysts, and infertility -- all symptoms that can be helped by birth control pills. "The pill has a number of benefits in patients with PCOS, [who are] making higher-than-normal levels of male hormones and not ovulating regularly," Thomas says. The pill lowers testosterone levels and controls when you menstruate.

It lowers your risk of some cancers. "Women that have taken the pill for 5 years or longer have a 50% reduction in the risk of developing ovarian cancer, and that benefit continues even after stopping the pill," says Ginger Gardner, MD, gynecologic cancer surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. "We're talking about a cancer for which there's not a good screening tool, and a cancer that's frequently diagnosed in an advanced stage, so to have this kind of risk reduction is important."

A recent analysis of 36 studies found that for every 5 years that a woman takes birth control pills, her risk of endometrial cancer decreases by nearly a quarter. The benefit continued even more than 30 years after the women stopped taking the pill.

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Reviewed on December 14, 2015

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