A recent study from the Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark shows that oral contraceptives (“the Pill”) have a suppressive effect on two markers of ovarian reserve, anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) and antral follicle count (AFC). The AMH test helps to estimate ovarian reserve by measuring the number of follicles developing in the ovary at a particular time. The AFC is done via ultrasound to measure the number of antral follicles in each ovary.
AMH and AFC, both predictors of ovarian ageing, are currently used to determine ovarian reserve and future reproductive lifespan.
In the study, Dr. Kathrine Birch Petersen and her team found that measurements of AMH and AFC were 19% and 16% respectively lower in women using the Pill than in those not taking it. Ovarian volume was also significantly lower, with the greatest reduction seen in the group aged 19 to 29.9 years.
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SOURCE: European Society of Human Reproduction. “Women on the Pill have significantly lower measures of ovarian reserve than non-users.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 2 Jul. 2014.