The birth control pill was first introduced to the American public for contraceptive use in 1960. By 2002, 11.6 million U.S. women were on the Pill, making it the nation's leading method of contraception.
But oral contraceptives can have negative health effects. The Pill’s relationship with blood-clot risk and stroke is well-documented, and that risk increases when a woman is smoker, particularly a smoker over age 35. In addition, studies in recent years have found that birth control pill use impairs muscle gains in young women, increases the risk of breast cancer in pre-menopausal women, and increases the risk of cervical cancer.
And the Pill may interfere with a protein that keeps testosterone unavailable for women's physiologic needs, thus causing long-term health problems, including sexual dysfunction.
Since 2000, death rates have increased in women between the ages of 35 and 44. All other age groups, meanwhile, have seen a decline. Research on this fact cites the significant increase in the use of birth control pills as a possible contributing factor.
Live Science May 7, 2009