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Could birth control pills build a bulwark against asthma?
New research suggests that hormonal contraceptives, which alter the natural ebb and flow of female hormones, may do just that.
A study of more than half a million women in the United Kingdom found that those who used hormonal contraceptives -- be it pills or patches or shots -- had a significantly lower risk of developing asthma than women who did not.
Female hormones have a mysterious relationship with asthma. Asthma is more common in boys than in girls during childhood, but after puberty women are more at risk for developing asthma and more likely to experience severe symptoms.
Every hormonal event in a female's reproductive cycle -- puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause -- has been shown to cause asthma-related ripple effects in some women who already have asthma.