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Continuous oral contraceptives better at easing pain, bleeding
Date:4/3/2008

Continuous oral contraceptives may be more effective than the standard 28-day birth control pills in suppressing the ovary, according to researchers. They say that the continuous pill also causes a significant improvement in pain and behavioral changes.

"We have provided a biological proof of concept that both the ovary and the lining of the uterus are suppressed better and quicker with the continuous pill than with the cyclic pill. And there is no harmful effect on the lining of the uterus either," said Richard Legro, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Penn State College of Medicine and lead author of the study.

Standard 28-day birth control pills mimic a woman's natural menstrual cycle, while preventing pregnancy. A standard dose includes 21 hormone pills to suppress growth in the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, and seven placeholder placebo pills.

Continuous oral contraceptives may be more effective in treating several medical conditions, where continuous ovarian suppression is desired, such as acne, hirsutism, premenstrual syndrome, endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome. But there have been few detailed studies of ovarian function on the pill to demonstrate this effect.

Legro and his colleagues compared the effectiveness of continuous oral contraceptives with that of the cyclical pills. The researchers monitored 62 healthy women, randomly assigned to receive either cyclical or continuous birth control pills, for six months with both researchers and participants blinded to the study group.

"We monitored vaginal bleeding, quality of life, and ovarian and endometrial suppression," said Legro, whose team's findings appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The researchers found a significant decrease in moderate to heavy bleeding days among women who received the continuous birth control regimen. Women in the continuous group also had a significa
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Contact: Amitabh Avasthi
axa47@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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