Oral contraceptives to reduce pelvic pain

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Viewer Question:

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 Answer:

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.

Thank you for your question.

Carolyn Janet Crandall, M.D.

William Shiel, MD, FACP, FACR

Last Editorial Review: 8/17/2001

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