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30-35 microgram pills

Bone Density Affected by Birth Control Pill

Hormonal Birth control is great – but it may be a factor in future bone health. But don’t fret too much – the effects are limited.

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"Bone health, especially for long-term users of the pill, may be one of many factors women consider in choosing a contraceptive method that's right for them," says Dalia Scholes, Senior Research with GHRI said in her interview with Science Daily.

Hormones play a key role in bone health. You resistance to fractures later on in life can be affected by the amount of bone mass you gain during you early 20s, time which many if not most women are on oral contraceptives.

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The Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) announced July 13, 2011 that women using hormonal birth control pills may have reduced bone density development. Published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, this study tracked young women ages 14 – 18 years old checking for changes in bone density development after discontinuing birth control pills.

"The teen years are when women most actively gain bone, so we thought it was important to look at that age group," Scholes added. "We found that oral contraceptive use had a small negative impact on bone gain at these ages, but took time to appear, and depended on hormone dose."

Researchers found the following:

  • Teens who used 30-35 microgram pills showed about 1% less gain in bone density at both the spine and whole body sites after two years than teens who did not use hormonal contraceptives.
  • For young adult women, users and non-users of oral contraceptives showed no differences in bone density at any site.
  • Differences between users and non users of birth control pills was less then 2 % and only showed in certain locations.
  • At one to two years after stopping, teens who took 30-35 microgram pills still showed smaller bone density gains at the spine than teens who did not use oral contraceptives.
At one to two years after stopping, young adult women who used either pill dose showed small bone density losses at the spine compared to small gains in women who did not take oral contraceptives.