Women consuming birth control pills experience lesser incidence of knee injuries, stated Aaron Gray, lead author of a study performed at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is one of the most common injuries experienced by athletes.
The ACL connects the top and bottom parts of the knee. Serious injury may happen if the ligament is damaged with back-to-play rates reducing to 49% in soccer players. Other devastating lifelong damages include knee instability, altered walking gait and early onset arthritis. Compared to male athletes, female counterparts are 1.5 to 2 times more vulnerable to ACL injuries.
The researchers checked out national insurance claims and prescription database of 23,428 young women aged 15-19 years and reported that ACL knee injured women consuming birth control pill were less prone to undergo corrective surgery than those not using the pill. Based on preceding research which determined that ACL injuries in women are more prominent during their menstruation period when estrogen levels are high; authors propose that estrogen incapacitates the ACL thereby rendering women liable to injury.
The authors also showed that women aged 15-19 years requiring ACL reconstructive surgery were 22% less likely to be consuming oral contraceptives than those non-injured and of the same age thus revealing that using birth control pills may be of potential benefit to control estrogen levels thereby averting intermittent ACL weakness and knee injury in young women.