Resources

Contraceptive Pearl: The Non-Contraceptive Benefits of Hormonal Contraceptives

We all know that hormonal contraceptives prevent pregnancy. Hormonal birth control products may benefit your patients in many other ways, too. These non-contraceptive health benefits can help clinicians who have to deal with religious restrictions on clinical practice.

  • The progestin IUD is an excellent treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding. It’s less expensive and has far fewer risks than surgical treatments.
  • Estrogen + Progestin contraceptives (pill, patch and ring) usually make periods shorter, lighter, and less painful.
  • Within a few months, the Progestin shot causes amenorrhea for most women.
  • Birth control pills can lead to improvement of acne, premenstrual syndrome, hirsutism, polycystic ovary syndrome, and perimenopausal symptoms.
  • Hormonal contraceptives lower the risk of endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, and osteoporosis.

Patients may want to consider these additional benefits as they choose a method. Our handout, Your Birth Control Choices, may be helpful during your conversations with patients.

We appreciate your feedback! Please write to us at pearls@reproductiveaccess.org with any questions, comments or additional resources to add to our list.

 

Helpful Resources

Your Birth Control Choices

Non-Contraceptive Indications For Hormonal Contraceptive Products

 

Sources

Burkman R, Schlesselman JJ, Zieman M. Safety concerns and health benefits associated with oral contraception. Am J Obstet Gynecol. Apr 2004;190(4 Suppl):S5-22.

Dayal M, Barnhart KT. Noncontraceptive benefits and therapeutic uses of the oral contraceptive pill. Semin Reprod Med. Dec 2001;19(4):295-303.

Gupta J, Kai J, Middleton L, et al. Levonorgestrel intrauterine system versus medical therapy for menorrhagia. The New England Journal of Medicine. Jan 2013, 368(2); 128-137. 

Kaunitz A. The levornorgestrel intrauterine system: Effective non-surgical treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding. Evidence Based Medicine. Dec 2013, 18(6); e57. 

Noncontraceptive health benefits of combined oral contraception. Human Reproduction Update. Sep-Oct 2005;11(5):513-525.

 

Pharma-free

The Reproductive Health Access Project does not accept funding from pharmaceutical companies. We do not promote specific brands of medication or contraception. The information in the Contraceptive Pearls is unbiased, based on science alone.