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birth-control-and-digestive-healthNew Research Shows Birth Control Has Connection to Digestion Problems.

Some new birth control research has revealed that both oral contraceptives (birth control pills) used by younger women and hormone therapy used older women may be linked to various inflammatory bowel diseases. HealthDay news reports that the preliminary research, presented at the Digestive Disease Week meeting in San Diego, showed users taking birth control for at least five years had an elevated risk of developing Crohn’s disease than those who have never used oral birth control pills.

The new birth control research also indicated that older women on hormone therapy had a 1.7 higher risk of ulcerative colitis compared to women who never used hormone therapy. The research found no link between hormone therapy and Crohn’s disease, however.

Birth Control Digestion Study and Crohn’s Disease

The study focusing on younger women taking hormonal birth control focused on 233,000 women and analyzed data beginning all the way in 1978. The study compared birth control users to those who never used oral contraceptives and found a higher risk of Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease inflames the lining of the large or small intestine to the point where it causes bleeding.

The new birth control research study indicates that birth control users on the pill for five years have a three times higher risk of developing Crohn’s disease. Although the exact reason why is still unclear, studies on animals showed that the colon is more sensitive to inflammation with exposed to elevated levels of estrogen. While the scientists who conducted the study agree women taking birth control should be told about the risk of birth control and digestive issues, all the research is still preliminary.

Hormone Therapy Study

  • The second part of the new research focused on 109,000 post-menopausal women. They found women on hormone therapy had a 1.7 increased chance of developing ulcerative colitis than those who never used hormone therapy. Ulcerative colitis causes long-lasting inflammation in the innermost lining of the large intestine. The study found no link between hormone therapy and Crohn’s disease, however.

  • Additionally, the links presented in the studies only show connections. Not enough research has been done to prove an actual cause-and-effect relationship between birth control, hormone therapy and digestive issues.

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