• abnormal uterine bleeding;
  • acne;
  • cancer;
  • combined oral contraception;
  • dysmenorrhoea

Key content

  • Dysmenorrhoea can be treated successfully with combined oral contraceptives.
  • Combined oral contraceptives have been shown to reduce and regulate menstrual bleeding.
  • Combined oral contraceptives can treat acne in women also desiring contraception.
  • Severe premenstrual syndrome may respond to drospirenone-containing combined oral contraceptives.
  • Use of combined oral contraceptives decreases the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer.

Learning objectives

  • To explain the role of combined oral contraceptives in reducing the risk of cancer.
  • To identify the uses of combined oral contraceptives in treating gynaecological problems such as dysmenorrhoea, abnormal uterine bleeding, premenstrual syndrome, acne, hirsutism and polycystic ovary syndrome.

Ethical issues

  • Compared with preventing pregnancy, the risk/benefit profile of combined oral contraceptives for non-contraceptive indications may be different and women should be counseled according to their individual circumstance.