Women who use intrauterine devices (IUDs) for birth control may have a lower risk of ovarian cancer.
IUDs can lower your risk of developing ovarian cancer
Researchers found that IUDs, one of the most effective forms of birth control, could lower your cancer risk by as much as 32%.
Researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, say that doctors should consider cancer risks when prescribing IUDs, and other contraceptives, to their patients.
American Cancer Society estimates 22,280 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States in 2016 and about 14,240 women will die from the disease.
“We know that ovarian cancer is the deadliest of gynecologic cancers. Anything we can do to decrease that risk is very important,” said lead author Dr. Lindsay Wheeler, a gynecologic oncology fellow at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.
Researchers found that, whether women used the hormonal or the non-hormonal IUD, the devices could lower their cancer risk by 15% to 32%.
The team believes the risk was lowered because the IUD combats high levels of estrogen, the hormone that has been shown to increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
“Many types of IUDs have hormones in them and exhibit anti-estrogenic effects which may help women who are at high risk for ovarian and uterine cancers,” said Dr. Saketh Guntupalli, an associate professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
“The second reason was that all the different kinds of IUDs…resulted in some local inflammatory effects. Immune cells increase and are thought to halt the threat of cancer.”
The study, published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, saw the team review 11 previous studies on the subject.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer
There is no early detection test for ovarian cancer, so all women need to be aware of the symptoms.
The most commonly reported symptoms for ovarian cancer are:
- Increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating
- Abdominal or pelvic (lower tummy) pain
- Feeling full after eating a small amount
- Needing to urinate often or urgently
- Changes in bowel habits
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Excessive fatigue
- Lower back pain
- Indigestion or nausea
- Bleeding after menopause or in-between periods
- Pain during sex or bleeding after
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