The Connection Between Birth Control Pills and Cramping

By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel

Some women say that when taking birth control pills, they have cramps as a side effect. Actually, the pill’s main function is to deaden period pain, and if there is cramping, it is only momentary and is a result of hormone changes. Let us discover the causes.

How do birth control pills work?

It is known that most of birth control pills are combination pills. In these pills, there are two types of female hormones which are estrogen and progesterone. Thanks to their ability to avert the development and release of eggs, the two hormones can prevent pregnancy. Furthermore, their capability of making cervical mucus thicker prevents sperm from entering an egg.

Besides helping women ward off pregnancy, appropriate use of birth control pills can also prevent cramps. However, mild cramping or breakthrough spotting shall occur should one miss or take pills late.

The link between birth control pills and cramps

Whereas a few women merely go through menstrual cramp sometimes, others experience debilitating cramps every period. Menstrual cramps are caused the prostaglandins yielded by the uterus’ glands. This kind of hormone can lead to uterine contraction. Your menstrual cramps will be more serious if the levels of prostaglandins are high.

Doctors may advise you to take some birth control pills to alleviate menstrual cramping pain. It is believed that birth control pills can lessen the levels of prostaglandins, thus leading to the decrease of blood flow and cramping. Moreover, ovulation can be prevented under the influence of the pills, hence averting cramping.

It has been shown that periodic use of birth control pills (or 21 days on 7 days off) can treat the basic menstrual pain in a very effective way.  However, continual use of the pills is thought to give better results in short term.

What else can cause cramp?

Sometimes cramps are caused by some underlying medical conditions which can be:

Endometriosis, a condition caused by endometrial tissue outside the uterus

  • Fibroids, harmful tumor of fibrous tissue in the uterine wall
  • Adenomyosis, a condition in which the lining of the uterus grows into the uterine muscle wall
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease, which resulted from sexually transmitted diseases
  • Cervical stenosis, which is a narrowing of the cervical opening that obstructs menstrual flow

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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