Anna Sheffer
September 28, 2018 12:44 pm

If you’ve ever taken birth control pills, you probably know that they can do more than just prevent pregnancy. Going on the pill can help regulate your periods, clear up acne, and ease endometriosis pain. But there could be even more benefits. A new study has found that combination birth control may reduce your risk of ovarian cancer.

The study, published in the journal BMJ on September 26th, found that women who have taken combination birth control pills at some point in their lives had fewer instances of ovarian cancer than women who had never been on birth control pills. How much of a difference was there? The study authors concluded that “use of hormonal contraception prevented 21% of ovarian cancers in the study population.” In addition, the longer women stayed on the pill, the more their risk of ovarian cancer reduced.

It’s worth noting that this benefit only affected those who took pills containing both the hormones estrogen and progestin. Pills that only contained progestin (sometimes called the “minipill”) weren’t linked to a decrease in ovarian cancer risk. However, the researchers did acknowledge that not many women in the study only used the minipill. So take this finding with a grain of salt.

The study involved nearly two million women.

To get their results, researchers examined data from the Danish Sex Hormone Register Study. It chronicled the health of women 15-79 years old between 1995 and 2014.

As CNN reported, previous studies have linked other birth control pills that were popular until the ’80s to a lower risk of ovarian cancer. But this new study shows that more recently released pills have the same benefits. This is great news for anyone who takes—or has ever taken—the combination pill.

Of course, no method of birth control is right for everyone.

But this latest study is just one more reason why access to these medications is about so much more than avoiding pregnancy. Birth control is key to so many people’s health, and everyone deserves to be able to get it.

Advertisement