alexa Oral contraceptive health benefits: perception versus reality.
Clinical Research

Clinical Research

Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics

Author(s): Kaunitz AM

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Many women remain unaware of classic oral contraceptive (OC) noncontraceptive health benefits even as new health advantages emerge from experience and research. An extensive body of evidence has established that OC protect women against dysmenorrhea and menorrhagia, menstrual cycle irregularities, iron deficiency anemia, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian cysts, benign breast disease, endometrial cancer, and ovarian cancer. In addition, the FDA has stated for the first time that an OC-triphasic norgestimate/35 micrograms ethinyl estradiol--is an effective treatment for moderate acne vulgaris. OC use also appears to prevent osteopenia in hypoestrogenic women. In addition to these noncontraceptive health benefits, OC have proven valuable in the management of a variety of gynecologic disorders, including dysfunctional uterine bleeding, persistent anovulation, premature ovarian failure, functional ovarian cysts, pelvic pain (including secondary dysmenorrhea), mittelschmerz, endometriosis, and the control of bleeding in women with blood dyscrasias. Educating healthcare providers and women about these important noncontraceptive health benefits will result in increased compliance, greater continuation, and fewer unintended pregnancies. PIP: Many US women remain unaware of the noncontraceptive health benefits associated with oral contraceptive (OC) use. An extensive body of research has established that OCs protect women against dysmenorrhea and menorrhagia, menstrual cycle irregularities, iron deficiency anemia, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian cysts, benign breast disease, and endometrial and ovarian cancer. More recent studies have suggested that OCs can be used for the treatment of acne vulgaris and the prevention of osteopenia in hypoestrogenic women. In addition to these classic and emerging noncontraceptive health benefits, many clinicians prescribe OCs for the treatment of common gynecologic conditions such as dysfunctional uterine bleeding, polycystic ovarian syndrome, premature ovarian failure, pelvic pain, mittelschmertz, endometriosis, and control of bleeding in women with blood dyscrasias. If OC acceptors are educated about these benefits, contraceptive compliance and continuation are likely to improve.

This article was published in Contraception and referenced in Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics

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