6 Surprising Health Benefits of Oral Contraceptives

Other perks of taking the Pill besides birth control.
You know the Pill helps prevent pregnancy. But did you know that it can also protect against certain life-threatening cancers, plus help relieve PMS and painful period symptoms? Here are six not-so-obvious health perks of taking the Pill and tips on how to make them work for you.

Pill Perk #1:

Reduced cancer risk

  • Recent studies suggest that women who use oral contraceptives for at least 10 years lower their risk of ovarian cancer by around 80 percent and endometrial cancer by 60 percent. "Even women who used oral contraceptives less than five years, or even a few years, still derive benefit from it," says Dr. Marc Goodman, a researcher at Cancer Research Center of Hawaii. "The longer women use it, the more protection they have."

    How do oral contraceptives protect? It seems that ovarian cell changes during ovulation and overgrowth of the endometrium (or uterine lining) play a role in these cancers. Since the Pill works by reducing the number of times you ovulate in your lifetime as well as slowing endometrial growth, cancer risks are lowered.

  • Pill Perk #2:

    Lighter, less painful periods

  • When you're on the Pill, you don't ovulate, so your uterine lining doesn't build up as much. This explains why most women on the Pill bleed less for a shorter time, and have little or no cramping during their periods.

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