A new study reveals the potential of hormonal contraceptive pill which may regulate hormones and prevent an asthma attack. More than half a million British women reported hormonal contraceptives to be effective in lowering the risk of asthma. This ratio was significantly higher as compared to women who don’t use any protection. It applies to any contraceptive pill, patches, and shots.
Hormones in women are somehow closely related to the risk of asthma. Typically, asthma affects boys more than girls in childhood. However, when puberty hits them, the risk significantly increases in women and is much less in men.
All transitions in a woman’s life are mainly because of a hormonal shift. Be it puberty, pregnancy, menstruation, or menopause, the hormones can not be ignored. But this hormonal shift has severe effects on their health especially those women who are diagnosed with asthma before.
Bright Nwaru from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden is the main author of this study. He reports that nearly 40% of women face asthma and related complications around their menstrual cycle which implies its link with sex hormones.
Dr. Bruce Levy who is the chairperson of Pulmonary and Critical care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston), this study has indeed figured out a direct link. In most cases, doctors are well aware of this relation but why does this happen is yet to be explained.
Previous studies on the contraceptive pill and asthma connection are uncertain and inconsistent. This is the first time that a study has revealed the relation between contraceptive pills and asthma in women directly and that too on a large scale.
Many other doctors believe that this link is there for years but it has no proper understanding which is why this study was much needed. One reason which may explain the role of birth control pills is that they prevent the inflammation inside the airways which narrows them and leaves less space for normal breathing.
While this study doesn’t focus if all types of hormonal contraceptives prevent the risk of asthma for all, it surely presents some link. There is a clear association between these two factors but this relation is not fully understood. There might be much more to it which is still not known to us, Levy said.
This study has used data from a database from British healthcare. At least 500,000 women, from the ages 16 to 45, were studied between the years 2000 and 2016. During this period, 25,000 women were diagnosed with asthma.
Factors such as weight, smoking, obesity were adjusted accordingly and the results showed that women that are using a hormonal contraceptive method are 30% less risk of asthma.
This is a benefit especially for women who have been taking birth control pills for more than seven years. This risk was relatively high in women who are new to birth control pills.
This study is observational means it is not a coincidence that these two things are connected. There is an absolute factor of time, as the maximum benefit is for women who have been using contraceptives for over seven years.
The complete study results are published in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology recently.