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Birth Control May Help Ward Off Bacterial Vaginosis
Date:7/30/2009

Contraceptive pills, hormonal injections both seem effective, study says

THURSDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- Women who are prone to the common vaginal infection, bacterial vaginosis, are less likely to have a recurrence if they take hormonal contraception, whether it be birth control pills or Depo-Provera injections, new research suggests.

In the study, researchers examined medical records for 330 women with a mean age of nearly 25 who visited two sexually transmitted disease clinics in Baltimore between April 2005 and October 2006. About 133, or 40.3 percent, were diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis.

The women were prescribed a contraceptive, either progestin only (such as Depo-Provera) or estrogen-progestin combination (a birth control pill).

Women who were taking an oral contraceptive that included estrogen and progestin were 34 percent less likely to have a recurrence of bacterial vaginosis than women not taking a contraceptive. Women who were on a progestin-only contraceptive were 58 percent less likely to have a recurrence, the researchers found.

Though the reduction attributed to the combined pill was not statistically significant, "it's fair to say a benefit is suggested," said senior study author Dr. Emily Erbelding, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

The study appears in the July issue of Contraception: An International Reproductive Health Journal.

The study authors said they would not recommend that women who are prone to bacterial vaginosis start taking birth control for the sole purpose of warding off bacterial vaginosis.

"If you have other reasons for choosing birth control, it could be an added benefit," Erbelding said.

Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, called the findings "encouraging."

"It supports that birth control pills possibly have
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