DEC 28, 2017 8:04 AM PST

Birth Control Pills and Arthritis


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is much more common in women than it is in men, so research has traditionally focused on women's health issues when looking at possible causes and treatments. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal drew on data from the Swedish Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (EIRA) which tracked women over 18 who lived in Sweden between the years 1996 and 2014. Out of that data, women who had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis were compared to women who did not have RA. Blood tests and health information were collected from the study participants, and when all the data had been tallied, women who were currently using oral contraception were 15% less likely to have RA than women who were not. In past users of the Pill, the rate was 13% less likely.

Even in women who tested positive for the ACPA (anti-citrullinated protein) antibodies for RA had a lower risk of developing arthritis if they had used the Pill. Research shows that among women who have this antibody, approximately 90% will develop RA, so any reduction in that risk is statistically significant. The decrease in risk was still present even after factors like alcohol use and smoking were considered. Breastfeeding at least one child also provided some risk reduction; however, that benefit was not shown once the same lifestyle factors of smoking and drinking were factored into the dataset.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
MAR 24, 2020
Cardiology
MAR 24, 2020
Infection of The Heart
Inflammation of the heart muscle can affect the hearts electrical system. This can reduce the heart's ability to pum ...
MAR 29, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAR 29, 2020
NASA is Sending This Golden Box to Mars to Make Oxygen
NASA’s Perseverance rover, formerly known as just the Mars 2020 rover, will do quite a bit more than merely drive ...
MAR 29, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAR 29, 2020
Meet the World's Smallest Cat
When it comes to wild cats, much of the spotlight gets put on nature’s largest and most fearsome, such as the lion ...
APR 01, 2020
Earth & The Environment
APR 01, 2020
New Global Water Maps & U.S. Drought Forecasts Available to the Public
Yesterday, NASA’s Global Climate Change team announced that new global groundwater maps and U.S. drought forecasts ...
APR 01, 2020
Health & Medicine
APR 01, 2020
Saliva Test can Measure THC Levels in Impaired Drivers
Now that cannabis products are legal in many states across the U.S., law officials need a quick and reliable way to test ...
MAY 31, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAY 31, 2020
SpaceX Demo-2 Mission Docks Safely with International Space Station
SpaceX and NASA gave the green light for the precedent-setting Demo-2 mission Saturday afternoon, officially bringing cr ...
Loading Comments...