Study: Birth control may link to multiple sclerosis - KMSP-TV

Study: Birth control may link to multiple sclerosis

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(WJBK) -

A new study from Argentina finds a link between birth control pills and the development of multiple sclerosis.

Researchers at an institute in Buenos Aires looked at about 300 women with multiple sclerosis and compared them to 3,000 women without it.
 
"They saw a slightly increased risk of having MS if they were on at least three months of hormonal-based contraceptive or birth control," says Dr. Mary Rensel from the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Rensel treats MS patients at the Cleveland Clinic and says the study found women who had used hormonal contraceptives were 35 percent more likely to develop MS than those who did not use them.

The majority used estrogen/progestin combinations.

"There are a lot of things that seem to go into, what we call, autoimmune diseases. MS is one of those. We actually do not know the cause of MS. There seems to be contributors. There's genetics, there's environments, there's somebody's weight, and maybe medications that they've taken we don't know that for sure," Rensel says.

Researchers say the findings suggest using hormonal contraceptives may be contributing, in part, to the rise in the rate of MS among women. Dr. Rensel says more studies are needed.

Complete findings for this study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting.

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