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What Are the Benefits of Taking Oral Contraceptives?

by Alexandra Haller
  • Overview

    Oral contraceptives are hormone pills taken to prevent pregnancy. Since 1961 when birth control pills became available, millions of women have taken them every year. Due to the number of benefits they provide, they continue to be a popular form of contraception.
  • Comparison

    Birth-control pills provide an astonishing 99 percent efficacy rate if taken correctly. This is a greater success rate than you'd find with condoms, diaphragms or the withdrawal method.
  • Expert Insight

    As reported in Science News, Oxford University scientists, in an article published in the Lancet in 2008, reviewed findings from 45 studies around the world and found strong proof that women who take oral contraceptives have a decreased risk of developing ovarian cancer. The research review also showed that these women provide themselves with an increased resistance to endometrial cancer.
  • Types

    Yaz and Yasmin are low-dose combination pills. Yaz has been shown to decrease symptoms associated with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a more extreme form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), while Yasmin has been shown to help with PMS symptoms.
  • Time Frame

    Generally most pills consist of a 28-day cycle, meaning 12 periods a year. However, Seasonal and Seasonique are two pills that operate on a 12-week cycle, meaning you only have four periods per year.
  • Considerations

    While the benefits of taking oral contraceptives are many and varied, one must always see a health-care provider before obtaining a prescription. Monthly pills can cost from $10 to $30 with insurance coverage or up to $80 a month without coverage.

    References & Resources