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Safe to Stop the Flow?: Differing Attitudes Found Between Women and Doctors Concerning Menstrual Suppression
Date:10/3/2007

Two Thirds of Women Interested in Stopping their Periods, But Unsure About Medical Implications

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than two thirds of women in a national survey say that they are interested in suppressing their menstrual periods but many of them aren't sure if it's safe. Yet when physicians are polled, 97 percent say that continuous oral contraceptive therapy to suppress menstruation is, in fact, medically safe and acceptable. The survey results were presented by Kurt Barnhart MD, MSCE from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine at the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals' (ARHP) Reproductive Health 2007 conference.

"The gap between physician and patient understanding concerning the necessity of monthly periods is obvious," said Dr. Barnhart, Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Research for the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology. "It is our hope that based on these findings physicians will begin to more readily initiate dialogue with their female patients about continuous therapy -- helping to eliminate the misconception that periods are a medical necessity and to emphasize the safety and viability of menstrual suppression."

Multiple oral contraceptives are already available to reduce menstruation and the FDA recently approved the first continuous oral contraceptive designed to suppress a woman's menstrual cycle. And according to this study, women are increasingly interested in exercising their options. The study found that 63 percent of women reported being extremely or somewhat interested in not having a period. Symptoms cited as the most bothersome aspects of menstruation included cramping, mood swings, bloating and headaches/body aches, while associated personal frustrations cited included avoiding exercise and sexual intercourse, eating more and a decrease in work productivity.

Why would a physician recommend a woman suppress her menses?

"The symptoms
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SOURCE University of Pennsylvania Health System
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