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Combined oral contraceptive pill helps painful periods
Date:2/6/2012

gistered nurse and midwife, said: "By comparing women at different ages, it was possible to demonstrate the influence of COCs on the occurrence and severity of dysmenorrhoea, at the same time taking into account possible changes due to increasing age. We found there was a significant difference in the severity of dysmenorrhoea depending on whether or not the women used combined oral contraceptives."

Two scales for measuring pain

Pain and other symptoms were measured by two different scales: VMS (verbal multidimensional scoring system), which grades pain as none, mild, moderate or severe, and also takes into account the effect on daily activity and whether any painkillers were required; and VAS (visual analogue scale), where a woman can grade her degree of pain on a 10 cm line that starts with "no pain at all" and ends with "unbearable pain".

From severe pain to moderate

Dr Lindh said: "We found that combined oral contraceptive use reduced dysmenorrhoea by 0.3 units, which means that every third woman went one step down on the VMS scale, for instance from severe pain to moderate pain, and which meant that they suffered less pain, improved their working ability and there was a decrease in the need for analgesics. On the VAS scale there was a reduction in pain of nine millimetres."

Age also a factor

Independent of the effect of COC use, the researchers found that increasing age reduced the severity of dysmenorrhoea but not as much as COC did; it shifted women down 0.1 units on the VMS scale and five millimetres on the VAS scale. Childbirth also seemed to reduce the severity of symptoms, but this result was limited by the fact that very few women had given birth between the ages of 19 and 24.

Worse symptoms among young women

The researchers also found that in the youngest group (those born in 1982), more women reported suffering from painful periods, and the severity of the symptoms was wors
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Contact: Krister Svahn
krister.svahn@sahlgrenska.gu.se
46-317-863-869
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert  

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