What are advantages of combination oral contraceptives?

Updated: Dec 10, 2018
  • Author: Frances E Casey, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Richard Scott Lucidi, MD, FACOG  more...
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Answer

Answer

Oral contraceptives are used as treatment for menstrual irregularity because menses is more regular and predictable. In the prevention of ovulation, oral contraceptives can reduce and sometimes eliminate mittelschmerz. Women with anemia secondary to menorrhagia increase their iron stores. Women can manipulate the cycle to avoid menses during certain events, such as vacations or weekends, by extending the number intake days of hormonally active pills or by skipping the placebo pill week. Oral contraceptives prevent benign conditions, such as benign breast disease and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Suppression of ovarian stimulation by FSH and LH reduces functional cysts. Cessation of ovulation prevents ectopic pregnancies.

Oral contraceptives are noted to prevent epithelial ovarian and endometrial carcinoma. Studies have noted an approximate 40% reduced risk of malignant and borderline ovarian epithelial cancer. This protection appears to last for at least 15 years following discontinuation of use and increases with duration of use. This protection has not been studied with low-dose oral contraceptives or in women with genetic ovarian cancer syndromes. Use of oral contraceptives is associated with a 50% reduction of risk of endometrial adenocarcinoma. Protection appears to persist for at least 15 years following discontinuation of use.


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