Magazine article USA TODAY

Misinformation on Pill Is Widespread

Magazine article USA TODAY

Misinformation on Pill Is Widespread

Article excerpt

Few American women understand the health benefits and side effects associated with birth control pills, even though 82% of them have used this form of contraception at some time in their lives. A Gallup survey commissioned by the pharmaceutical company Organon Inc. found that only 16% realize that the pill helps reduce the incidence of ovarian and endometrial cancer and ovarian cysts. In addition, few are aware that the pill can cut the development of benign breast cysts (15%) and ectopic pregnancy (27%).

"Americans don't seem to realize that, because of its numerous health benefits and high contraceptive effectiveness, the pill may actually reduce the number of hospitalizations for several conditions," notes Carolyn Westhoff, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and public health at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, and medical director of family planning at Columbia-presbyterian Medical Center.

The survey found that 43% still believe that females over age 35 should not take the pill, even though it is known that healthy women who do not smoke can take it through menopause. …

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