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Pelvic Pain and The Pill

For Those On A Low-Dose of Estrogen Oral Contraceptives…

Pelvic pain on an ongoing basis and/or during sexual climax is not something that women want to live with. At first, it may appear related to your menstruation cycle or the onset of menopause. Yet, new study results presented at the 2013 Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA) suggest that Low-Dose (low estrogen) Oral Contraceptives (OCPs) may increase a woman’s risk for chronic pelvic pain symptoms (CPPS) and even pain during sexual climax.

While Oral contraceptives have been widely available in the United States over a quarter century, their effects on conditions, such as, chronic pelvic pain symptoms are not yet fully understood. Thus, researchers from New York University and Waitemata District Health Board in Auckland, New Zealand conducted a study to compare chronic pelvic pain symptoms between young women who are current Oral Contraceptives users and non-users.

By surveying a wealth of University based populations of women between 18-39 years of age, researchers were able to identify the relationship between oral contraceptives, pelvic pain and how effects may differ depending on hormone dosage. In fact, there was a greater incidence of vulvodynia noted when taking low dose Oral Contraceptives. The other results included:

  • Low−dose OCP users were more likely to report pelvic pain symptoms and more likely to have CPPS than non−users (27.1 percent vs. 17.5 percent, p=0.045).
  • Low-dose OCP users had almost twice the incidence of pain or discomfort during or after sexual climax compared to controls, and there was no difference between normal dose OCP users and controls.
  • Normal dose OCP users were less likely to have pelvic pain symptoms than non OCP users.

Forty-four percent of respondents reported onset of pain after beginning OCP use and were more likely to fulfill CPPS criteria than those who had symptoms prior to OCP use (62 percent vs. 30.3 percent, p<0.001).

The researchers did not include women who were pregnant or had a history of endometriosis or pelvic pain, and gathered demographic data as well as information on the type of OCP, duration of use, and indication for usage. Once data was collected, respondents were sorted into the following groups: a controlled non user group, taking a low-dose of estrogen (¡Ü20) group, and a group of women taking a normal dose (>20mcg) of estrogen.

In the end, you may want to visit your physician to report your pelvic pain and request assistance to identify the cause and secure treatment.  Pelvic pain is also associated with numerous other medical conditions.

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition.Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.