Pills, Longer Use, Time for A Bone Check

Several reports have recently dealt with the long and short term effects of birth control pills on one's bones.
Years ago OCs had much higher doses of pills. Now most pills are low dose, and the cumulative effect, while lowering some risks, may have health consequences for others.The findings were published in the January issue of Contraception. "low-dose oral contraceptives with long-term use have some impact on bone density," said study author Delia Scholes, a senior investigator at the Group Health Research Institute of Group Health Cooperative in Seattle.Whether this is an issue for just teens or women under 30 or all women needs to still be explored, as I discussed in a prior post. In this study the group over 18 and under 30 lost about 5% of their spinal bone if they were on oral contraception for over 2 years. If that was a menopausal group the researchers pointed out that can translate into a 50% greater rate of fractures. In the young women, fractures aren't seen, and if they physiologically respond like Depo Provera users they will regain the bone after stopping their pills. Ways to check your bone health are: physical examination, blood tests for Vitamin D, calcium and other markers, bone density tests, and even accurate height measurements! So see your physician and ask if you need these tests!

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