A recent study by the Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecological and Urological Sciences, La Spienza University of Rome, Sant Andrea Hospital has recognised the benefits of the combined oral contraceptive pill.

The study shows that over the last 50 years combined oral contraceptives have been shown to be capable of offering health benefits beyond contraception through the treatment and prevention of several gynaecological and medical disorders.

During the last few years there has been constant attention on the adverse effects of oral contraceptives, whereas their non-contraceptive benefits have been underestimated. To date most women are still unaware of its therapeutic uses.

Of interest to doctors are conditions including dysmenorrhoea, menorrhagia, hyperandrogenism (acne, hirsutism, polycystic ovary syndrome), functional ovarian cysts, endometriosis, premenstrual syndrome, myomas, pelvic inflammatory disease, bone mineral density, benign breast disease and endometrial/ovarian and colorectal cancer. The benefit of the oral contraceptive pill in rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, menstrual migraine and in perimenopause have also formed part of the study.

The university believes that these aspects are not of minor relevance and they deserve special consideration by health providers and the mass media. They believe counselling and education are necessary to help women make well-informed health-care decisions and it is also crucial to increase awareness among general practitioners and gynaecologists.