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Continuous oral conceptive (OC) use can relieve menstrual pain caused by endometriosis. Italian physicians reported in Fertility and Sterility (September 2003) that continuous use of OCs ?combines relief of pain, prevention of estrogen-deprivation effects, . . . and, most important, [the] possibility of prolonging therapy indefinitely.?
The researchers studied 50 women with painful periods that recurred following surgery for endometriosis. After more than 6 months of taking the pill on an interrupted monthly cycle, the women?s condition had not changed. At that point, treatment was changed to continuous OC use. The average menstrual pain, measured on a scale of 0 to 100, declined from 75 at the start of the study to 31 after 2 years of treatment. At the end of the trial, only 2 patients reported moderate symptoms and none reported severe symptoms.