Birth control pills may reduce the risk of asthma in women of reproductive age, new research finds.

Researchers concluded that study participants who used hormonal contraception in either pills, patches, or shots had a lower risk of developing asthma than their peers who didn’t take hormonal contraceptives.

In childhood, asthma is more common in boys than girls, but from puberty onward the risk of developing asthma and having more severe symptoms is higher for women than men.

Researchers say it’s possible that female sex hormones are responsible for this phenomenon.

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