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Besides preventing pregnancy, there are other uses of oral contraceptives. Certain pills are also approved for the treatment of acne and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Oral contraceptives that are only approved for preventing pregnancy can also be used off-label for treating other conditions. Some common off-label oral contraceptive uses include the treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome, perimenopause, and endometriosis.

Uses of Oral Contraceptives: An Overview

Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) are a popular form of contraception. They have become so popular because they provide numerous benefits, such as:
  • Effective, relatively easy-to-use birth control (not messy, discrete)
  • Decreased risk of ovarian or endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus)
  • Lighter menstrual bleeding, which decreases the risk of anemia
  • Less menstrual pain
  • Regular menstrual cycles.
While all oral contraceptives are approved for preventing pregnancy, some are approved for additional uses. These uses include the treatment of:
  • Acne (see Birth Control Pills and Acne for a discussion on which pills work best for this)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, also known as PMDD (Yaz® is currently the only oral contraceptive approved for this use).
Two medications (Plan B® and Ella®) are not oral contraceptives in the traditional sense, but are approved for emergency contraception (the "morning after pill").
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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