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Period pain eased by oral contraceptives

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Women with severe period pain and heavy bleeding may find relief from oral contraceptives, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

A college Practice Bulletin said contraceptive medication combining oestrogen and progesterone lowers the risks of colorectal, endometrial and ovarian cancer.

It is thought combined contraceptives may also help treat pain in the pelvis caused by endometriosis, migraines brought on by the menstrual cycle and bleeding from uterine fibroids.

Dr Robert Reid, who helped to develop the bulletin published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, said the medical community had known contraceptives have benefits beyond preventing pregnancies for many years.

“These recommendations examine the scientific data supporting the non-contraceptive uses of hormonal contraceptives to treat specific conditions,’ he said in a statement.

“Combined oral contraceptives are effective in normalising irregular periods, reducing symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, improving acne and allowing women to avoid having their period at inconvenient times, such as during a business trip, vacation or honeymoon,” he added.

“Although there is little data on the newer forms of hormonal contraception in terms of their off-label benefits, experts suggest that they may be as effective as the more studied ones in treating the same conditions,” said Dr Reid.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • I have always had unbearably painful periods and have bled heavily every month since I was about 14. Up until about 3 years ago when I ended up in A&E with an Hb of 6 and facing the prospect of a hysterectomy (I was 37 at the time), I was offered the choice of a new mirena coil as a last resort. It has been amazing, I can't tell you the difference it has made. I actually have a life now instead of an existence of alternating between pain and bleeding for 2 weeks and recovering for the next 2 weeeks(sounds dramatic but true). no side effects at all. Utterly amazing. recommend investigating for anyone who has been told a hysterectomy is the only option (which I was).

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  • This is new? I was given a combined oral contraceptive for dysmenorrhoea in 1968.

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