Changes in bone density in oral contraceptive users depends on age and hormone dose
Birth control pills may reduce a woman’s bone density, according to a study published online July 13 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism by Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) scientists. Impacts on bone were small, depended on the woman’s age and the pill’s hormone dose, and did not appear until about two years of use. The study size and design allowed the researchers to focus on 14- to 18-year-old teenagers, and to look at how bone density might change when a woman stops using the pill.
GHRI Senior Investigator Delia Scholes, PhD, led the study. Hormones are a key component of bone health, she says, and hormonal contraceptives are a major source of external hormones for women—the pill is the most common birth control method worldwide. A woman’s risk of fractures later in life is influenced by the bone mass she gains in her teens through her 20s, and this age group has the highest use of oral contraceptives. Continue reading