PPNEO Echoes National Study - Birth Control Pills are Basic Health Care

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PPNEO echoes national study - birth control pills are basic health care

As the region’s largest provider of reproductive health care, non-profit Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio (PPNEO) echoes the results of a new survey conducted by the Guttmacher Institute confirming the benefits of oral contraceptive pills (OCPs, birth control pills) beyond preventing pregnancy. The new report “Beyond Birth Control,” used data from the federal National Survey of Family Growth to show how women use OCPs to control and manage a wide range of health problems in addition to preventing pregnancy. In fact, 1.5 million women take OCPs solely for non-contraceptive reasons.

The study revealed that after pregnancy prevention (86%), the most common reasons women use the pill include reducing cramps or menstrual pain (31%); menstrual regulation, which for some women may help prevent migraines and other painful “side effects” of menstruation (28%); treatment of acne (14%); and treatment of endometriosis (4%). Additionally, it found that some 762,000 women who have never had sex use the pill, and they do so almost exclusively (99%) for non-contraceptive reasons.

“We know that oral contraceptives are essential health care. This study reinforces that there are other important health reasons why they should be readily available to the millions of women who rely on them each year,” said PPNEO CEO Tara Broderick.

These expanded uses for oral contraceptive pills are mirrored by Americans’ support for insurance coverage of them. According to a recent Thomson Reuters-NPR Health poll, 77 percent of Americans believe that private medical insurance should provide no-cost birth control and 74 percent believe that government-sponsored plans should do the same.

In addition, to oral contraceptive pills, PPNEO offers clients the following birth control methods: birth control implant (Implanon), birth control patch (Ortho Evra), birth control shot, birth control vaginal ring (NuvaRing), cervical cap (FemCap), diaphragm, condom, fertility awareness method and IUD (Mirena and ParaGard).

More than 90 percent of the services PPNEO provides at its 13 health centers are preventive, reproductive health care services. These include life-saving cancer screenings, annual exams to breast exams, as well as: Cervical cancer diagnosis and treatment,     Emergency contraception (EC, morning after pill), Essure non-surgical permanent contraception,    HIV testing (confidential and anonymous) and counseling, HPV vaccination, Male health services, Midlife services, Pregnancy testing and options information, abortion services - first-trimester, medication or surgical, Referrals for other specialized medical care, Sexually transmitted infection (STI/STD) testing and treatment and Urinary tract and vaginal infection diagnosis and treatment.

PPNEO (ppneo.org) provides essential reproductive health care, family planning services and sexuality education to 72,000 women and men at 13 health centers in 21 counties throughout Northeast Ohio. PPNEO strengthens individuals, families and communities by promoting healthy and responsible decision making about parenthood, relationships and sexual health.


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Stephanie Tresso
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