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

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"We are unsure why this is," said Dr Lindh. "It may be due to changes in the type of oral contraceptive used, for example, differences in oestrogen content and progestogen type, or a different appreciation of pain in the women born in later years, in that they may be more pain sensitive or are more prepared to complain about pain than women of the same age but born earlier."

Billions of dollars in lost productivity

Dysmenorrhoea has been estimated to account for 600 million lost working hours and two billion dollars in lost productivity in the USA. Dr Lindh said: "Painful periods occurs frequently, particularly in young women where as many as 50-75% suffer from dysmenorrhoea. It can have a detrimental effect on these women's lives, causing regular absenteeism from school and work, and interfering with their daily activities for several days each month. Therefore effective management of dysmenorrhoea is beneficial for both the women affected and society.

"Information about the effects of COC use on painful periods should be included in contraceptive counselling, as it has been shown that women who experience a beneficial effect of COCs other than contraception, such as a reduction in dysmenorrhoea, are more likely to continue with the pill."

Call for controlled trial

At present, the combined oral contraceptive pill is approved for contraception by regulatory authorities such as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and they would require a randomised controlled trial to in order to include dysmenorrhoea treatment as another indication for COC use, although some doctors already prescribe it "off-label" to help with painful periods.

Dr Lindh said: "We are aware that drug companies have discussed with the authorities the possible design of a randomised controlled trial for the evaluation of COCs in the treatment of dysmenorrhoea but this has not yet been finalised or perf
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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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