Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oral contraceptives are better at easing pain, bleeding

Oral contraceptives are not only better at easing pain and bleeding, but may also be more effective in preventing pregnancy than regulation 28-day birth control pills, according to a study.

The study has found that both the ovary and the lining of the uterus are suppressed better and quicker with the continuous pill rather than with the cyclic pill.

The study, by Penn State College of Medicine researchers, also did not find any harmful effect on the lining of the uterus with oral contraceptives.

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 Richard Legro, co-author of the study.

Findings of the study have 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 significant decline in circulating and urinary estrogen levels, total ovarian volume and lead follicle size - all biomarkers that indicate the ovary is less active - and reported less pain and behavioural changes compared to women in the cyclic group.

Standard 28-day birth control pills mimic a woman's natural menstrual cycle, while preventing pregnancy. However, results from the study also indicate greater breakthrough bleeding, or spotting, among women in the continuous group.

Legro said the quality of life did not necessarily decrease as it was counterbalanced by improvements in other areas such as pain and mood swings.

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