Creative use of
contraceptive technology has helped us manage a number of gynecologic as well as non-reproductive
illnesses. This so called “off label” use often requires “outside
the box” creative thinking. This is common in the practice of medicine
as we realize benefits other than contraception for which these prescriptions
were initially intended.
The “morning after pill,” which we call emergency contraception
(EC), is a good example of utilizing the most widely prescribed class
of medicine, oral contraceptives, off label. Refinement of the initial
Yuzpe protocol shows that it can now be given up to 5 days from an episode
of unprotected intercourse. The Plan B® preparation does not contain
estrogen and consequently has far less nausea as a side effect, making
it the drug of choice for EC. Dosing has been simplified to give both
Plan B® tablets at once, rather than divided doses 12 hours apart.
Liberal use of EC is felt to be one factor that has lead to a decrease
in abortion rates. Should you need EC we will accommodate you on any weekday
Extended use of oral contraceptives has been practiced for years to decrease
the frequency women must endure menstrual related conditions, such as
cramps, migraine headaches, or simply the inconvenience of having your
period. A commercially available product, Seasonale® is marketed so
you only have your period four times a year. Of course you can also use
any level dosed pill currently on the market do similarly. New data show
that the creative use of contraception is no need to regularly stop the
medication until an episode of break through bleeding occurs. Then you
should stop your pills for just two days, and then resume taking them
daily. This allows for a shorter menstruation.
Finally while we’re stretching your mind about contraceptives, the
Mirena® IUD, which releases a small amount of locally acting progesterone, offers
great potential in the treatment of heavy periods. Progesterone keeps
the inside lining of the
uterus thin, which is the source of menstruation. Likewise, as many doctors are
becoming increasingly suspicious of systemic progestins another potential
use for Mirena® is part of hormone replacement therapy for menopause.
So if you are interested in taking estrogen for all its benefits, you
can use this IUD to protect the inside lining of your uterus from developing
cancer as well as minimizing the nuisance of undesired bleeding. Mirena®
last for five years.
So feel free to discuss these non-contraceptive uses of birth control as
well as other ones with your doctor so you may enjoy benefits in addition
to protection from an unplanned pregnancy.
Wishing you good health!
Birth Control can be used to treat conditions from
heavy periods to undesired menstrual symptoms.