Hormonal birth control may pose diabetes risk

Hormonal birth control has been known to cause complications for obese women who later try to get pregnant.

And a new study suggests that it might also pose a diabetes risk for this group of women by lowering insulin sensitivity.

Hormonal vs. non-hormonal

Researchers at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC) wanted to study the effects of hormonal birth control on overweight women, as they now represent one-third of the female population in the U.S.

"Contraceptive studies often only look at normal-weight women,” said Penina Segall-Gutierrez, co-investigator of the study and an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology and family medicine at the Keck School.

Fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity increase

Results showed that obese - but otherwise healthy - women have a higher risk of developing diabetes when using a progestin-releasing LARC hormonal birth control method, as opposed to a non-hormonal method like condoms or the diaphragm.

Fasting glucose (FG) levels were also impaired, which can indicate pre-diabetes.

No conclusive statements can be made about the use of hormonal birth control for obese women, the researchers say, as they don't know if the negative metabolic effects are permanent or temporary.

Segall-Gutierrez concludes:

Overall, we’re finding that methods such as the progestin injection and the progestin skin implant, which both have higher circulating progestin, may have an increased risk for metabolic changes compared to methods like the IUD, which only has a local effect - in the uterus.

The study is published in the journal Contraception.

Source: Personal Liberty

Image courtesy of BrandonSigma / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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