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.