Menstrual-cycle-related symptoms: a review of the rationale for continuous use of oral contraceptives

Contraception. 2006 Nov;74(5):359-66. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2006.06.003. Epub 2006 Sep 15.


As many as 80% of reproductive-aged women experience physical changes associated with menstruation, and 20% to 40% experience menstrual-cycle-related symptoms. Decades of research in women with menstrual disorders, such as dysmenorrhea and menorrhagia, have shown that continuous use of oral contraceptives (OCs), without the hormone-free interval, is a safe and effective method to relieve these symptoms and ultimately induce amenorrhea in many women. If given the opportunity, a majority of women would opt for extended-cycle or continuous regimens, and numerous clinical trials have shown that continuous OC regimens induce amenorrhea in 80% to 100% of women by 10 to 12 months of use. For women who do not wish to become pregnant, a continuous OC regimen should be an available option.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amenorrhea / chemically induced*
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menstruation Disturbances / drug therapy*
  • Menstruation Disturbances / prevention & control*


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal