Women taking oral contraceptives, also known as “the pill,” often wonder how long they can continue taking the pill without putting themselves or their health at risk. In the recent years, oral contraceptives have gotten a bad reputation for causing cancer, infertility and other frightening issues. However, further medical research has debunked these false alarms and concerns. In fact, for most women, it is completely safe to take oral contraceptives until the moment you want to get pregnant or reach menopause.
Even with prolonged usage, women who discontinue oral contraceptives will begin to ovulate again within a couple of weeks. Because the hormones are quickly flushed out of your system, skipping doses can put you at risk for pregnancy. The general rule of thumb is if you miss two or more consecutive pills, you have the potential to become pregnant. Studies have indicated that a very small percentage of women have issues with return of fertility after prolonged usage of oral contraceptives.
Risk of Cancer
Long term use of “the pill” has been linked to increased risk of cervical cancer. As such, the research concluded from this is unclear and does not distinguish whether contraceptive use directly causes cervical cancer or if it decreases the body’s capacity to fight off HPV (Human Papilloma Virus), which is a leading cause of most cervical cancers. While oral contraceptives have been linked to increased risk of cervical cancer, they have also been proven to decrease risks of ovarian and uterine cancer.
As with all prescription medications, women taking oral contraceptives should only do so after consulting with a medical professional. While oral contraceptives are the ideal option for many women, others may want to consider an alternative route. You and your doctor will be able to discuss which method suits you best.
Call OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch to Learn More
If you have questions or concerns regarding birth control methods, our professionals at OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch would be more than happy to assist you.