Birth control pills serve a greater purpose than just preventing unwanted pregnancies - they help regulate cycles, reduce menstrual cramps, keep fluctuating hormones at bay, control acne breakouts and even treat a variety of female health conditions.
But like all medications, birth control pills have their own set of side effects; some of which have the potential to become serious. A few brands such as Yaz and Yasmin, for example, were linked to multiple cases of death in females who developed severe blood clots under its use.
For the most part, users of the pill have nothing to worry about. In fact, there actually may be some really good health benefits to birth control use; especially for those who have been using them for a long time.
In study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society this month, scientists found that women who take hormonal birth control for at least 10 years develop better cognitive skills after menopause. 830 post-menopausal women (aged at around 60 years old) were subjected to various memory and cognition tests, and found that women who took birth control pills had performed better on the tests than those who didn't. This finding was most strongly associated with women who had been taking birth control pills for more than 10 years in their youth.
The study wasn't designed to identify the bodily mechanisms behind such correlation; however, researchers believe it could have something to do with the fact that birth control pills regulate a women's levels of estrogen (which affects brain function, chemistry, and structure) and progesterone (which promotes brain tissue growth and development). More studies are necessary to validate this hypothesis.
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