Womens Health

Could Birth Control Pills Make You Healthier?

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Yes, sort of like a vitamin. Too long, going to the doc meant getting treated while sick. Gynos were ahead of the curve in that doc visits often at least introduced, in a mass market kind of way, the idea of screening for sickness with the pap test and bringing out prenatal care, which was pretty much only focused on high blood pressure in pregnancy at the get go.

However, most doc visits are aimed at treating the sick, with a mere nod to the concept of staying well or making you a whole lot better. A wellness visit for women actually focuses on screening for disease, and still needs just a bit of a tweak more to focus on actually making you better. Show up at a normal weight and with no obvious medical condition, no one will ever question your diet. Have low blood pressure at your check up? Were you ever told how to keep it there?

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Probably, you have been told by your health care provider to avoid secondhand smoke, and perhaps been given a quick reminder about seat belts, wearing sun screen and using condoms. All designed to prevent illness, not to make you “even healthier.”

My favorite advice for keeping you healthy beyond just exercising? Encouraging sex (yes, for adults sex can be extremely healthy).

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In gynecology we have long touted the non-contraceptive health benefits of taking oral contraceptives. They specifically suppress both ovulation and the uterine lining tissue, raising the blood counts and improving bone density even in the healthiest of users. But how about taking this one step further, requiring anyone without contraindications to take at least 10 or 20 years of oral contraceptives? This strategy has been estimated to eliminate 80% of all ovarian cancers. And going even farther would be using pills to ward off high blood pressure and heart disease altogether.

Using a pill to treat the entire healthy population and help ward off disease would indeed be rather radical.