Indexed on: 27 Oct '04Published on: 27 Oct '04Published in: Contraception
The United States Food and Drug Administration approved a dedicated extended regimen of oral contraceptive (OC) pill in the fall of 2003. Few studies have explored how women or providers feel about menstrual suppression. This study describes women's and providers' attitudes toward menstrual suppression. A national sample of 1470 women and 512 providers responded to surveys asking about attitudes toward menstrual suppression. Seventy-eight percent of the women sample had never heard of menstrual suppression with OCs. Fifty-nine percent of women would be interested in not menstruating every month and one third would choose never to have a period. Only 7% of the providers thought it was physically necessary to have a period every month and 44% thought that menstrual suppression is a good idea. While 57% of providers said that their patients do not ask about extended use of OCs, 52% do prescribe them; patient request was the most common reason. Both samples thought that more research should be conducted and that the factors that would influence their decisions included long-term health effects, side effects, future fertility and cost. Results demonstrate that providers need to discuss this option with their patients.