Reasons to be taking hormonal contraception. . . .other than contraception.

I had a patient today who has menstrual migraines. . . and has had her tubes tied. We discussed starting her on hormonal contraception for noncontraceptives reasons.

I reviewed the ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) 2010 bulletin on noncontraceptive benefits of hormonal contraception. Beware: lots of numbers ahead. . .

Pain.  Oral contraceptives with estrogen and progesterone (“combination pills”) relieve painful with menses in up to 80% of women (even those with endometriosis). Depot medroxyprogesterone (“Depo shot”) and the levonorgestrel IUD (Mirena) also treat menstrual pain.

Bleeding.  Women with heavy bleeding benefit with up to 50% less blood loss with combination birth control pills or up to 97% less in 12 months with insertion of Mirena IUD.

Cancer.  Combined oral contraceptives may reduce endometrial cancer by 50% with cancer protection lasting up to 20 years after medication discontinuation. There is a 20% decreased risk of ovarian cancer for every 5 years of use. There is an 18% risk reduction for colorectal cancer, but this reduced risk stops when medication stopped.

Other potential noncontraceptive benefits of hormonal contraceptives

  • Menstrual cycle regularity
  • Prevention of menstrual migraines
  • Treatment of acne
  • Treatment of bleeding from fibroids
  • Treatment of painful periods
  • Treatments of unwanted facial hair growth (hirsutism)
  • Treatment of heavy menstrual periods
  • Treatment of “PMS”—premenstrual syndrome.

About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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