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Birth Control Health Center

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Contraceptives Don't Protect Against Leading Cause of Infertility


Women who took birth control pills had less severe PID symptomsthan those who did not take the pills, but they were not protected against thedisease.

"Inconsistent use of barrier methods of contraception,particularly condoms, is really harmful," Ness tells WebMD. "If you are goingto use barrier methods, you better make sure that you are using them correctlyand consistently."

When used correctly and consistently, male latex condoms willprevent transmission of gonorrhea and partially protect against chlamydiainfection.

As for birth control pills, the new research suggests that theymay decrease the inflammation that occurs when bacteria creeps up the genitaltract. They do not, however, protect against gonorrhea or chlamydia or theascension of any bacteria.

Ness says that inflammation and adhesions in the genital tractcause pelvic pain and infertility. "If oral contraceptives reduce inflammation,then they may well be preventing some of the complications of PID even thoughthey do not prevent PID," Ness tells WebMD.

Although not a sure thing, "the clearest way to prevent PID isto prevent [sexually transmitted diseases], particularly gonorrhea, and the waythat one would do that would be to use condoms consistently," James Trussel,PhD, tells WebMD. Trussel, who was not part of the study, is a professor ofeconomics and public affairs and a faculty associate at the Office ofPopulation Research at Princeton University.

Agreeing with Trussel, Donnica Moore, MD says, "the only way toprevent PID is to prevent getting the [sexually transmitted diseases] thatcause PID and that's by practicing safe sex either by being in a mutuallymonogamous relationship or by using condoms consistently." Moore is presidentof Sapphire Women's Health Group in Neshanic Station, N.J.

A lot of people have the mentality that "if I use a condomevery other time I have sex, I can reduce my [sexually transmitted disease]risk by 50%, but it doesn't work that way," Moore tells WebMD. Her advice?

"If he says no to using condom, then say no-way to using yourbody," says Moore.

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