The advantage of certain birth control devices may be overshadowed by a scary side effect – a new study suggests that intrauterine devices (IUD) may be linked to a higher likelihood of developing breast cancer.
Levonogestrel, a synthetic copy of the hormone progesterone, is the chemical ingredient in IUDs that prevents a pregnancy from occurring. Researchers conducted an experiment with 93,000 women to find whether the hormone caused damage to the uterus of consumers using IUDs containing levonogestrel. While the scientists concluded that no internal damage resulted from the use of the device, a notable jump in breast cancer cases occurred in women participating, especially those between the ages of 45 and 49. The number of breast cancer diagnoses in IUD consumers was 19% higher than the number for the general population of women.
Doctors concluded that this link was not definitive – additional research about why the women chose an IUD over other birth control options, and their lifestyles, is required to build concrete evidence. Until then, the researchers warn doctors to properly educate patients on the risks of birth control alternatives and IUD side effects.
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