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Birth Control Pills Linked to Fewer Severe Knee Injuries in Teen Girls

Posted 23 Mar 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 23, 2016 – Teen girls who take birth control pills may be less likely to seriously injure their knees than those who don't take the pill, a new study suggests. "Young athletes currently use birth control pills for various reasons, including more predictable cycles and lighter periods," said study author Aaron Gray, an M.D./Ph.D. student at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. "Injury risk reduction could potentially be added to that list," he said, if future studies confirm what the new study found. The study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between birth control pills and knee injuries. The researchers only found an association between these factors. Female athletes are up to twice as likely to suffer an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury as male athletes, the study authors said. The ACL connects the top and bottom parts of the knee. ... Read more

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Condom Use Falls When Teen Girls Opt for IUDs vs. The Pill

Posted 14 Mar 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, March 14, 2016 – High school girls who use long-acting contraception – such as IUDs or implants – are less likely to focus on condom use than girls who are on the Pill, a new study finds. Experts say the finding shows that many young women aren't paying enough attention to the dangers of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which condoms help prevent. "We need to work on crafting a clear message about pregnancy prevention and STI prevention," Dr. Julia Potter, of the Boston Medical Center, and Dr. Karen Soren, of Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, wrote in a related editorial. "Dual protection for sexually active adolescents should be encouraged, so that adolescents are not exposed to the risk of pregnancy or the risk of STIs as a result of selecting condom use vs. effective contraception use," they said. The new study was led by Riley Steiner, of the ... Read more

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Obese Women on Birth Control Pills May Face Higher Risk of Rare Stroke

Posted 14 Mar 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, March 14, 2016 – Obese women who take oral contraceptives may have a higher risk for a rare type of stroke, a new study suggests. Dutch researchers found that obese women on birth control pills were nearly 30 times more likely to develop this rare type of stroke, known as cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT), compared with women of normal weight who didn't take birth control pills. But the chances of having this type of stroke in one's lifetime remain very low, the researchers added. And the study wasn't designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship. CVT affects just over one person per 100,000 each year, said study author Dr. Jonathan Coutinho. He's a stroke neurologist at the Academic Medical Center at University of Amsterdam. In the United States, that's about 4,200 new patients annually, he said. Coutinho added that CVT tends to occur mostly in children and young to ... Read more

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Steep Decline in Unintended Pregnancies in U.S., Study Finds

Posted 3 Mar 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 2, 2016 – Accidental pregnancies have reached a three-decade low in the United States, mostly because of long-acting contraceptive methods, a new study found. The unintended pregnancy rate declined by 18 percent in women of childbearing years between 2008 and 2011, to "the lowest level we've seen in at least 30 years," said Mia Zolna, a research associate at the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive health research institute in New York City. Among U.S. women aged 15 to 44, about 45 out of every 1,000 experienced an unintended pregnancy in 2011. This compared with 54 out of 1,000 women of childbearing age three years earlier, said Zolna and her Guttmacher co-author, Lawrence Finer. Their report is published in the March 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Also, unintended pregnancies occurred less frequently across the board, regardless of age, ... Read more

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FDA Orders 'Black Box' Warning Label on Essure Long-Acting Contraceptive

Posted 1 Mar 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Feb. 29, 2016 – A special "black box" warning should be added to packaging for the Essure implantable birth control device, based on concerns over serious complications, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Monday. The FDA also ordered Essure's manufacturer, Bayer, to conduct a new clinical study to gather more data about the health risks the device might pose for "in a real-world environment." Essure is a permanent and nonsurgical form of birth control for women. It consists of flexible coils that are inserted through the vagina and cervix into the fallopian tubes, the FDA explained in a statement. Scar tissue forms naturally around the coils, creating a barrier intended to prevent sperm from reaching the egg as they travel down the fallopian tubes into the uterus. However, since the FDA approved Essure in 2002, the agency says it has received about 10,000 ... Read more

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Double Up on Acne Treatments, New Guidelines Say

Posted 23 Feb 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 23, 2016 – Combining treatments is the best way to combat acne, new guidelines from the American Academy of Dermatology state. "There are a variety of effective treatments available for acne, and dermatologists have found that combining two or more treatments is the best option for the majority of patients," Dr. Andrea Zaenglein, co-chair of the guidelines committee, said in an academy news release. "Recommended treatments include topical [skin] therapy, antibiotics, isotretinoin [Accutane is one brand] and oral contraceptives," she added. Acne affects up to 50 million Americans a year, according to the academy. When using antibiotics to treat moderate to severe acne, prescription skin medications should be used at the same time. After patients complete a course of antibiotics, they should continue using topical, or skin, therapy to manage their acne, according to the ... Read more

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Having More Kids May Slow Mom's Aging, Study Says

Posted 13 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 13, 2016 – The more children women have, the slower they may age, new research suggests. Looking at chromosomes, scientists found that women who have more kids have longer telomeres, which helps slow the aging process. Telomeres are caps of DNA at the end of each chromosome. Like the tips found at the end of shoelaces, telomeres protect chromosomes and their critical genetic information from damage. Having sufficiently long telomeres is essential for cells to be able to multiply. As people age, telomeres shorten, eventually leading to cell death, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. The new study by Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, included 75 women from two rural communities in Guatemala. Their telomere lengths were measured through cheek and saliva swabs taken twice 13 years apart. The research suggested – but did not prove – that ... Read more

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No Link Between 'the Pill' and Birth Defects: Study

Posted 7 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 6, 2016 – Becoming pregnant while taking birth control pills doesn't seem to increase the risk of birth defects, a new study suggests. Researchers found similar rates of birth defects – about 25 infants out of 1,000 – among women who never used birth control pills and those who took them before pregnancy or took them before realizing they were pregnant. "Women who become pregnant either soon after stopping oral contraceptives, or even while taking them, should know that this exposure is unlikely to cause the fetus to develop a birth defect," said lead researcher Brittany Charlton. "This should reassure women as well as their doctors," said Charlton, an instructor in the department of epidemiology at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. However, she cautioned that this study can't prove that birth control pills don't cause birth defects, only that ... Read more

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Girls Given Risky Meds Don't Get Contraceptive Advice

Posted 16 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 16, 2015 – New research from a Midwestern hospital suggests a wide majority of teen girls and young women fail to get information about contraceptives when they take medications that could cause birth defects. At issue are so-called "teratogenic" medications, used for conditions ranging from acne to anxiety, that boost the risk of birth defects when taken during pregnancy. Physicians often tell sexually active women to take birth control while they're on the drugs to avoid becoming pregnant, but it's unclear whether younger females routinely get the same kind of guidance. In the new study, researchers examined the medical records of nearly 1,700 females aged 14 to 25 who received just over 4,500 prescriptions for teratogenic medications in more than 4,100 visits from 2008-2012. All the participants had visited a large, unidentified pediatric medical center in the ... Read more

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U.S. Abortion Rate Hits Record Low: CDC

Posted 11 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 11, 2015 – The U.S. abortion rate has declined by more than one-third over the past two decades to a record low, federal officials reported Friday. Abortions fell 35 percent between 1990 and 2010, reaching 17.7 procedures per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, said report lead author Sally Curtin, a statistician for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. That's the lowest abortion rate since the CDC began tracking the procedure in 1976, Curtin said. "Abortion has been on a nearly steady decline since the rate peaked in 1980," she said. The pregnancy rate also hit an all-time low in 2010, according to the report. Many factors likely contribute to the reduction in abortions, but increased use of highly effective birth control is one of the most important trends, said report co-author Kathryn Kost, principal research scientist at the ... Read more

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CDC: Too Few Schools Teach Prevention of HIV, STDs, Pregnancy

Posted 9 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9, 2015 – Too few U.S. schools teach students how to protect themselves from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, how to prevent pregnancy, and other important sexual health information, federal officials reported Wednesday. In most of the country, fewer than half of high schools and only one-fifth of middle schools teach all 16 sexual health education topics recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 44 states, the proportion of high schools that teach all 16 topics in grades 9, 10, 11 or 12 ranges from 21 percent in Arizona to 90 percent in New Jersey. Only three states – New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York – have more than 75 percent of high schools teaching all of the topics. The proportion of middle schools that teach all 16 topics in grades 6, 7 or 8 ranges from 4 percent in Arizona to 46 percent in North Carolina. No state ... Read more

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Weight Gain Between Pregnancies May Affect Infant Survival

Posted 3 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 3, 2015 – Weight gain after a first pregnancy might raise the risk of infant death and stillbirth in a second pregnancy, a new study suggests. In mothers who were previously a healthy weight, even moderate weight gain between the two pregnancies was associated with increasing the odds for infant death, researchers reported Dec. 3 in The Lancet. "The public health implications are profound," study author Sven Cnattingius, a professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said in a journal news release. "Around a fifth of women in our study gained enough weight between pregnancies to increase their risk of stillbirth by 30 to 50 percent, and their likelihood of giving birth to babies who die in infancy increased by 27 to 60 percent, if they had a healthy weight during their first pregnancy," Cnattingius said. But while the study detected an association between mother's ... Read more

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Study Ties Essure Birth Control Implant to Greater Need for Reoperation

Posted 13 Oct 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Oct. 13, 2015 – New research raises concerns about Essure, an implanted long-term birth control device that's already the focus of controversy. Researchers found a 10-fold higher risk of needing a reoperation during the first year for women who choose the Essure device compared to those who had minimally invasive surgery for sterilization. Essure works to prevent conception by blocking the fallopian tubes with metallic coils. This isn't the first time the device, first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002, has come under scrutiny. In September, an FDA panel reviewed the safety of the device after receiving complaints of complications from users. Abdominal pain was the side effect most often reported by women to the FDA, followed by heavier menstrual periods. The panel said that while complications have been reported, they haven't increased since the ... Read more

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Mouse Study Hints at New 'Male Contraceptive'

Posted 1 Oct 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Oct. 1, 2015 – A discovery in mice could pave the way to a reversible, non-hormonal form of birth control for men, researchers report. The findings, published online Oct. 1 in the journal Science, add to efforts to develop the elusive "male pill" – that is, a reliable but temporary form of contraception for men. "It is important that we find an effective and reversible contraceptive option to allow men more control over their own reproductive futures," said Masahito Ikawa, the lead researcher on the new study. "The findings of this study may be a key step to giving men that control," said Ikawa, a professor at Osaka University's Research Institute for Microbial Diseases in Japan. The results are based on male mice, and results of animal studies don't always apply to humans. But Ikawa's team was able to render the animals infertile – temporarily – by blocking a specific ... Read more

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Health Tip: Stay Fit and Healthy During Pregnancy

Posted 1 Oct 2015 by Drugs.com

-- It's important to develop healthy habits before and during pregnancy – and to maintain them once your baby is born. The Weight-control Information Network suggests: If you exercised before pregnancy, speak to your doctor about continuing those habits during pregnancy. If you didn't exercise before pregnancy, speak to your doctor about going for regular walks, or at least taking frequent stretch breaks from prolonged sitting. Get back to exercising after baby is born, as soon as your doctor approves. Drink plenty of fluids, and use caution during warm weather. Eat a balanced, nutritious diet throughout pregnancy and afterward. If you're able, nurse baby for added health benefits for you and baby, and to help burn calories. Read more

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