Can Oral Contraceptives Reduce Pelvic Pain?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

I have been having pelvic pain about halfway through my menstruation cycle. Can taking the Pill help reduce the pain? Could the pain be related to the ovarian cysts that I have been diagnosed with?

Doctor's response

Oral contraceptives are often used to treat pain related to ovarian cysts. Oral contraceptives prevent formation of ovarian cysts. Some women experience pelvic pain every month at the time of ovulation (in other words, about halfway between each monthly bleeding), called Mittelschmirtz. By blocking ovulation, oral contraceptives may decrease this type of pain as well. These are only some of the many types of gynecological pain that oral contraceptives can help. Most women will turn out to have non-serious causes of pelvic pain. However, each woman must have the cause of her pelvic pain determined on an individual basis. Without a proper interview, physical examination, and 3-month diary of symptoms, it is impossible to reassure any woman that the cause of her pain is not serious.

Carolyn Janet Crandall, M.D.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018