Although more than 80% of U.S. women will use hormonal contraception (like the Pill) sometime during their reproductive years, many do not realize the noncontraceptive benefits of using this type of birth control. Certain hormonal contraceptives have shown some ability to diminish dysmenorrheal pain. Please keep in mind that each woman may react differently to specific birth control methods, so this information is meant to be a general overview. It is also important to point out that the main reason to use hormonal contraception is for birth control (to prevent an unintended pregnancy) -- the potential noncontraceptive benefits can be considered when deciding which hormonal birth control method may be best suited for you.
The following is a list of various prescription birth control methods that have been shown to be effective in relieving some of the pain associated with dysmenorrhea:
- Combination Birth Control Pills: By blocking the production of prostaglandin, combination birth control pills have been shown to relieve dysmenorrhea in up to 70–80% of women.
- NuvaRing: In a randomized controlled trial, the vaginal ring was also shown to reduce dysmenorrhea from 17.4% to 5.9%.
- Implanon: It appears that the use of Implanon can reduce dysmenorrhea in most users as well; one study reported a decrease in the number of women with dysmenorrhea from 59% at baseline to 21% after treatment. Additional research has revealed that 81% of women who reported a history of dysmenorrhea before using Implanon showed improvement while using this progestin contraceptive implant.
- Mirena IUD: Data on the effects of the Mirena IUD for dysmenorrhea is limited; however, given that Mirena reduces or eliminates monthly periods for many women, in theory, this should make dysmenorrheal pain less likely to occur.
- Ortho Evra Patch: Given that the contraceptive patch is similar to combination pills (it contains a synthetic estrogen and a progestin), it should also be expected to diminish the pain associated with dysmenorrhea.
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