Some women go through their monthly periods with little or no issues. Their menstrual cycles run like clockwork, starting and finishing at almost the same time every month. Nonetheless, there are women who experience a variety of physical or emotional symptoms before or during menstruation, including missed periods, heavy bleeding, and uncontrollable mood swings. These symptoms can undermine a woman’s ability to live a normal life.
One effective way to overcome menstrual cycle issues is to use hormonal contraceptives. Find out how birth control can make your periods easier and more comfortable.
Relieves Menstrual Cramps
Image via Flickr by Alachua County
Also known as dysmenorrhea, menstrual cramps affect about 50 percent of women. They can range from mild pain that comes and goes quickly to intense, debilitating cramps that confine women to bed.
Dysmenorrhea results from the release of prostaglandins, which are natural substances produced by cells in the inner lining of the uterus and other parts of the body. These substances cause the uterine muscles to contract, which facilitates the buildup of the uterine lining during menstruation. If your uterus produces an excessive amount of prostaglandins, you may experience menstrual cramps.
There are several different kinds of hormonal contraceptives that can help reduce menstrual cramps, including combination birth control pills, hormone patches, NuvaRing, and intra-uterine devices. Most of these birth control methods work by introducing synthetic hormones into the body to inhibit the production of prostaglandins. An intra-uterine device, on the other hand, reduces the chances of menstrual cramps by reducing or eliminating monthly periods.
Helps With Premenstrual Syndrome
Another condition that commonly affects women of childbearing age is premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS has a wide range of symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, abdominal cramps, acne, and mood swings. Since the symptoms can vary greatly from one woman to another, there’s no one-size-fits-all method for treating this condition.
However, you can use birth control pills to alleviate the symptoms of PMS. Combination pills contain synthetic estrogen and progestin, which are effective in stopping ovulation. They start working by delivering a steady dose of estrogen to eliminate the signal for the ovaries to release an egg. After that, they release a fixed amount of progestin to prevent the uterine lining from growing. Most pills also provide a week of placebos to reduce hormone levels and maintain the habit of taking the pills.
If you’re using birth control pills, it’s important to know exactly which brand is most suitable for you. For example, Sprintec and Ortho Tri-Cyclen work the same way to reduce PMS symptoms, but they have different side effects. Make sure you read a Sprintec vs. Ortho-Tri-Cyclen comparison before you use any of these products.
Controls Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is basically a more severe version of PMS and can significantly interfere with a woman’s daily life. The most common symptoms of this condition include heightened anxiety, irritability, and mood swings. There are two types of combination birth control pills that have been proven to help with PMDD: Yaz and Beyaz.
Different women experience different menstrual cycle issues. It’s advisable that you consult a doctor to determine the best treatment methods for your specific symptoms.