The combined oral contraceptive pill, often referred to as the birth-control pill or simply "the Pill", is a birth control method that includes a combination of an estrogen (oestrogen) and a progestin (progestogen). When taken by mouth every day, these pills inhibit female fertility
Scand J Rheumatol. 2006 May-Jun;35(3):169-74.
Risk factors for the development of rheumatoid arthritis. 2006
There is increasing interest in attempting to understand what the risk factors are that lead to the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Twin studies have proved a genetic role but also quantified the non-genetic risk. There is thus scope for identifying environmental predictors that might offer a strategy to prevent the disease. Changes in the female hormonal environment such as in pregnancy, breastfeeding and the use of the oral contraceptive (OC) pill appear to have a role. Of the traditional lifestyle exposures, cigarette smoking has been associated with a consistently increased risk that might also apply to the passive inhalation of smoke. Occupation probably has a minor influence, although exposure to silica dust is of aetiological importance. Recent studies have highlighted a role for diet, with suggestions that diets high in caffeine, low in antioxidants and high in red meat may contribute to an increased risk. The most plausible environmental exposure is infection and although several decades of study have produced few definitive candidate organisms, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) remains an interesting target.
J Clin Immunol. 2006 May;26(3):222-32. Epub 2006 May 16.
Covariates of cervical cytokine mRNA expression by real-time PCR in adolescents and young women: effects of Chlamydia trachomatis infection, hormonal contraception, and smoking.
Scott ME, Ma Y, Farhat S, Shiboski S, Moscicki AB.
Measurements of mucosal immune parameters in the uterine cervix are potentially influenced by numerous factors, including infections, endogenous and exogenous hormones, semen, and nicotine and its metabolites in cervical mucus. The objective of this study was to examine correlates of immunoregulatory cytokine mRNA expression in cervical cytology samples in a cross-sectional design. Samples, collected at study entry by cervical cytology brush from 368 women aged 13-21 enrolled in a longitudinal study of the natural history of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, were tested by quantitative RT-PCR for expression of IFN-gamma, IL-4, IL-10, and IL-12. In a multivariate analysis, elevated levels of IFN-gamma, IL-10, and IL-12 were significantly (p < 0.05) associated with several variables, including current C. trachomatis infection, recent intercourse, and current oral contraceptive pill use. Suppressed IL-4 and IL-10 levels were associated with cigarette smoking within the last 24 h. Time since last menstrual period did not affect any of the cytokines; in a substudy of weekly cytokine variability, however, IL-10 showed a non-significant trend toward higher levels around the time of menstruation.