Many women of reproductive age will take hormone pills, more commonly known as birth control pills, at some point during their lives. Many people may not realize that this medication can be used to treat other medical conditions. It is estimated that over 1.5 million women in the United States take hormone pills for reasons other than pregnancy prevention.
In the Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology Clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital, we see many patients seeking care for problems related to their periods. Period issues are very common in adolescents. These problems include heavy or irregular menstrual bleeding, amenorrhea, polycystic ovarian syndrome, menstrual cramps, ovarian cysts, premenstrual syndrome and endometriosis. Hormone pills may be used to treat all of these conditions regardless of sexual debut.
Some ways birth control pills can help:
- Thinning the lining of the uterus making menstrual bleeding less heavy
- Allowing for predictable menstrual cycles
- Decreasing cramps with periods by reducing prostaglandin production (a chemical that makes cramps worse)
- Suppressing ovulation
- Helping control PMS symptoms
- Suppressing male type hormone (androgens) production by the ovary in patients with polycystic ovaries, which improves acne and helps decrease excess hair growth
- Decreasing the risk of uterine and ovarian cancers
- Controlling symptoms related to endometriosis
- Adding back hormones to protect the bones
- Helping to decrease menstrual migraine headaches among affected individuals
For more information, please visit our Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology website.