The Oxford-FPA contraceptive study has provided information on many serious diseases of the female reproductive tract. This report fills the gap concerning uterine polyp, cervicitis, cervical erosion, and vaginitis and vulvitis.
The Oxford-FPA study includes 17 032 married women recruited between 1968 and 1974 from clinics in England and Scotland. Information collected during follow-up included contraceptive use, cervical smears taken at the clinic, pregnancies, and hospital referrals.
OC use was associated with a reduction in first hospital referral for uterine polyp and vaginitis and vulvitis, which became more marked with increasing use duration. There was a slightly increased rate of hospital referral for cervicitis in OC users. First hospital referral for both uterine polyp and cervical erosion showed a highly significant negative association with numbers of cigarettes smoked per day. The explanation for these observations is unknown.
The study concluded that the OCs studied were mainly those used in the 1970s and 1980s and mostly contained 50 μg estrogen. On balance, the overall effect of OC use on the conditions considered as neutral or beneficial. The apparent protective effect of cigarette smoking against uterine polyp and cervical erosion, even if valid, counts as nothing against the overwhelming adverse effects of smoking on health.