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Higher STDs Tied to Popular Contraceptive

The use of Depo Provera, an injected contraceptive used by some 30 million women worldwide, appears to triple women's risk of infection with chlamydia and gonorrhea, two common sexually transmitted diseases, according to a new study.

Researchers focused on some 800 women ages 15 to 45 who were just starting birth control prescribed at two Planned Parenthood clinics. About three-quarters were single. Of the women, 354 chose the pill, 114 chose Depo Provera and 351 opted for a non-hormonal contraceptive. The women were tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea after three, six and 12 months.

By the end, 45 women had contracted chlamydia or gonorrhea. Women using Depo Provera were about 3.5 times more likely to develop one of the infections than women using non-hormonal contraceptives. The researchers say they can't yet explain their finding.

They also found pill users were 50 percent more likely to become infected than users of non-hormonal contraceptives, but there were so few cases that could have been due to chance, according to one researcher.

Although additional research is needed to verify these results, the study does highlight the need for hormonal contraceptive users to also use condoms if they aren't in mutually monogamous relationships.

There really is no medical justification for taking birth control pills. The benefits simply do not outweigh the tremendous risks. Plus, there is a much safer option to taking birth control pills. In addition to increasing serious health risks such as blood clots, birth control pills can also deplete the following important nutrients:

  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc

USA Today August 23, 2004

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