Chalk another point up for safe sex: A new study from the University of Texas says contraception including birth-control pills, barrier methods (like diaphragms), IUDs, getting your “tubes tied,” and — oddly — your partner undergoing a vasectomy all decreased women’s odds for developing ovarian cancer by as much as 40 to 65 percent.
Researchers think it might have something to do with sperm’s influence on the female body: Sperm causes inflammation, and several of the aforementioned methods nip that in the bud (poor choice of words), and birth-control pills cause women to ovulate less frequently — ovulation increases inflammation as well.
There are a few questionable findings in the study, though, including the fact that women who have children are less susceptible to ovarian cancer, and when researchers controlled for that, vasectomies, IUDs, and barrier methods weren’t correlated as strongly with cancer resistance. Plus, some say that couples who opt for a vasectomy might have lifestyles that are less likely to result in cancer anyway.
One thing that you can count on? Birth-control pills have been shown time and again to be associated with a lesser risk of ovarian cancer. Just be aware that for some women, taking birth-control pills leads to a lower sex drive and perhaps a bit of cognitive dissonance from the concept of fertility. As with any medication, learn the facts before you start popping them.