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expert reaction to conference poster on sex hormones, contraceptive pill and diabetes

A conference poster, being presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), reports that the use of the contraceptive pill is linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes.


Dr. Channa Jayasena, Reader in Reproductive Endocrinology, Imperial College London, said:

“We already know that sex hormones such as oestrogen play an important part in regulating the body’s metabolism. The combined oral contraception pill contains an ‘extra-strong’ version of oestrogen, so it is possible that the metabolism might be affected. Previous studies have suggested that the contraceptive pill may slightly reduce the body’s ability to use sugar after a meal, and the preliminary results of this study supports that view. It is important to emphasise that (if proven true), the pill is much less important for diabetes risk than body weight, exercise and family history. Women should be reassured that the pill is overall immensely safe, and nothing in this study changes that view.”


Prof Naveed Sattar, Professor of Metabolic Medicine, University of Glasgow, said:

“There is nothing new here. We know the oral contraceptive increases risks for diabetes.  Also, many of the other findings in this report are also well known and may relate more to other upstream characteristics such as lifestyle and weight which regulate both timings of various hormonal events and risk for diabetes.”


Abstract/poster title: ‘Hormonal factors and type 2 diabetes risk in women: a 22-year follow-up study on more than 83,000 women from the E3N cohort study’.

This is a conference abstract from the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), and was under embargo until 23:01 UK time on Monday 16 September.

There is no paper as this is not published work.


Declared interests

Prof Naveed Sattar: “No COIs”

None Others Received 

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