How Birth Control Pills Help With Painful Periods

>> Tuesday, April 1, 2014

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So many women suffer from painful periods, and many rimes the pain extends beyond that. Many of you rarely have a day free of pain. It can be crampy or sharp, stabbing pain that shoots every which way. It can be positional and worsen when sitting or walking.

And, many of you cannot enjoy sex because of sexual pain. This can be worse with certain positions and usually occurs with deep penetration. Sexual pain that occurs when your partner first pushes into the vaginal opening is typically caused by hormone imbalance or vaginal infections.

Pain always motivates us to seek medical attention, which is good. A thorough evaluation is needed including labs and ultrasound studies. But, often these come up negative, and that leads to frustration and confusion.

Birth control pills are one of the treatments that are recommended because, in addition to preventing pregnancy, they can significantly reduce female pain. This is because birth control rests the female system, preventing ovulation which also prevents cyst formation. It also regulates and decreases menstrual blood flow. Over time, this resting can actually reduce incidence of ovarian cancer up to 80% during a woman's lifetime. This is true for birth control patches, pills, injections and vaginal rings. This can come as welcome relief, especially because it can help eliminate the need for pain medication or other treatments.

The newer pills are extremely well tolerated and lower dose than the older formulations. This makes them easy to tolerate, with little to no adverse side effects. In fact, the side effects are mainly positive - like less menstrual pain, fewer cramps, no ovulation pain, regulation of menstrual cycles, and clearing of complexion problems.

Interestingly, hormonal birth control can also make it much easier to get pregnant after it is stopped. This is because over the time you are on it, ovulation is suppressed. Once it is stopped, the ovaries wake up immediately and will actually "super" ovulate, and pop several eggs with each cycle for the first few months. This can make getting pregnant with twins or triplets more likely.

But note, for women with pelvic pain, the newer low-dose birth control pills have been shown to increase pelvic pain as compared to the normal dose pills. A recent study notes: "…..that low-dose (low estrogen) oral contraceptives (OCP) not only increase a woman's risk for chronic pelvic pain symptoms (CPPS) but can significantly increase pain during sexual climax."

Other forms of birth control like the Copper T or Mirena IUDs (Intra Uterine Device) can also make pelvic and sexual pain worse. This is because having an object inside the uterus can make it cramp more and cause sharp jabbing pains with sex. It is better to use nothing or condoms if this is an issue.

For those of you with reoccurring vaginal infections, increased discharge and odor, oral birth control can help. Oral birth control balances our hormones and can decrease the amount of discharge. In contrast, IUDs can increase discharge and cause reoccurring bacterial and yeast infections.

Odor and discharge can be so frustrating and embarrassing when we are intimate with our partner. It is important to learn, practice and teach good feminine hygiene. We need to maintain pH balance in our vagina so that it will prevent odor and over-growth of abnormal bacteria and yeast colonies.

When bathing, never let soap get inside your vagina, as soap is alkaline and the vagina needs to be slightly acidic to stay healthy. Never douche. The chemicals, vinegar or lemon juice can destroy the healthy bacteria that fight off the abnormal yeast and bacteria.

Plain water is the only thing that can be used inside the vagina and not hurt the natural flora. As you know if you've read my other blogs, WaterWorks is the only FDA-cleared device to cleanse the vagina to reduce or stop vaginal odor.

Check out the website ( and see that WaterWorks is a reusable (green) device that has a stainless steel nozzle with a sturdy container to hold the warm water. The stainless steel nozzle reacts with our vaginal mucosa to stop vaginal odor. The warm water from your shower sprinkles into your vagina gently to rinse out old period blood or semen.

WaterWorks can be used as often as you like so you feel clean. When our periods are normal and our vagina is healthy, we feel more healthy.
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