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Women who take Pill "live longer"

The Pill may contribute to a longer life, according to new research.

The Royal College of GPs Oral Contraception Study of more than 46,000 women found those who had never taken it generally had shorter lives.

People who have taken the Pill are less likely to die from cancer, heart disease or any other cause.

However, the effects may only be true for women who have taken older-style pills rather than those on newer-type drugs.

The results of the study, published online in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), revealed a slightly higher risk of dying among under-45s who had stopped using the Pill five to nine years previously.

However, this risk diminished as women got older and was not the case in those with more distant use.

The effects in younger women were also mainly seen in those who smoked, had high blood pressure or were otherwise at risk of heart disease.

Furthermore, the benefits in older women outweighed the smaller excess risks among younger women.

The results are from the Royal College of GPs study is one of the world's largest investigations into the health effects of the Pill.

The researchers said women should have their minds put at ease by the study.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

The Royal College of General Practitioners