Health Questions and Answers

Question: What factors may be noted in women with RA?

Answer:

Hormonal status even beyond the female preponderance may play a role. Some studies have shown that nulliparity may increase the risk of disease. Pregnancy certainly influences the disease with upwards of 70% of pregnant women developing remission (with most suffering postpartum relapse). Another study suggested a role for breast-feeding in raising the risk of developing RA. Finally, one study in the U.K. suggested that use of oral contraceptives reduced the risk of developing RA significantly.

Reference: Sheon RP, et al (eds): Soft Tissue Rheumatic Pain: Recognition, Management and Prevention, 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1996.

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