Use of continuous combined oral contraceptives demonstrates bone health benefits

June 24, 2020

CLEVELAND, Ohio (June 24, 2020)--Women with premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) become estrogen deficient at an early age, which makes them more vulnerable to the loss of bone mineral density. A new study suggests that use of continuous combined oral contraceptives may be especially effective in reducing bone mass loss. Study results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Premature ovarian insufficiency occurs when a woman's ovaries stop working before the age of 40. This results in estrogen deficiency well before the age of natural menopause, which leads to a number of potential problems, including not only hot flashes but also sexual dysfunction, mood disorders, and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and dementia. Bone mineral density is also affected, most notably in the lumbar spine. Bone mass typically continues to increase up to age 30, although 90% of peak bone mass is acquired by age 18. The lack of estrogen accelerates the loss of bone mass, which for women with POI is especially problematic because it begins at a much earlier age than average.

The condition is typically treated with the prolonged use of hormone therapy (HT) to provide the estrogen a woman normally would have produced and to minimize the effect of its early loss. Two types of hormones are most often used for treatment in women with POI--a postmenopause estrogen-based HT regimen or an estrogen-containing contraceptive, often taken orally in what is known as a combined oral contraceptive.

The benefits of combined oral contraceptives have been evaluated in previous studies but focused primarily on women with normal ovarian function. In this new study, researchers sought to evaluate the association between the use of continuous combined oral contraceptives and the bone mass variation in women with POI compared with the low-dose and high-dose HT regimens typically used for symptom management in menopausal women.

The study found that the use of continuous combined oral contraceptives is a viable option for HT in women with POI because it resulted in the least amount of bone mass loss, especially when measured at the lumbar spine. The bone effects with combined oral contraceptives were similar in women using high-dose HT regimens and superior to those seen in women on low-dose HT regimens.

Study results appear in the article "Bone mass in women with premature ovarian insufficiency: a comprehensive study between hormone therapy and combined oral contraceptives."

"The results of this study support the use of combined oral contraceptives taken in a continuous fashion without a pill-free interval as an option for the treatment of women with POI--a regimen that may be particularly appealing for women who wish to avoid the chance of pregnancy. These results also show similar bone protection with high-dose hormone therapy regimens but not with low-dose regimens, lending further credence to the recommendation to use hormone therapy doses aimed at achieving physiologic levels for a premenopausal woman," says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.
-end-
The authors have prepared a video summary of this article that can be found at: https://cdn-links.lww.com/permalink/meno/a/meno_00_00_2020_03_10_kling_meno-d-19-00371_sdc1.mp4

For more information about menopause and healthy aging, visit http://www.menopause.org.

Founded in 1989, The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) is North America's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the health and quality of life of all women during midlife and beyond through an understanding of menopause and healthy aging. Its multidisciplinary membership of 2,000 leaders in the field--including clinical and basic science experts from medicine, nursing, sociology, psychology, nutrition, anthropology, epidemiology, pharmacy, and education--makes NAMS uniquely qualified to serve as the definitive resource for health professionals and the public for accurate, unbiased information about menopause and healthy aging. To learn more about NAMS, visit http://www.menopause.org

The North American Menopause Society (NAMS)

Related Menopause Articles from Brightsurf:

Cannabis use for menopause symptom management
CLEVELAND, Ohio (September 28, 2020)--As legislation relaxes regarding cannabis, it is being used to manage numerous chronic health conditions and mood symptoms.

Could your menopause symptoms be hard on your heart?
Menopause is accompanied by numerous symptoms that can interfere with a woman's quality of life, but can they also cause health problems?

Research provides new insights into menopause and weight gain
Can women in menopause get the benefits of hormone replacement therapy without the health risks?

Executive function in women post-menopause
Assessing adverse childhood experiences and current anxiety and depression symptoms may help ease cognitive distress in women who have undergone a surgical menopause for cancer risk-reduction, or RRSO, according to a new study published in Menopause.

An apple a day might help keep bothersome menopause symptoms away
A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables is known to benefit the human body in so many ways.

Menopause timing hard to determine in every third woman
Is it possible to investigate menopausal age, or not? In more than one in three women aged 50, the body provides no clear answer about the menopause, Swedish study shows.

Having less sex linked to earlier menopause
Women who engage in sexual activity weekly or monthly have a lower risk of entering menopause early relative to those who report having some form of sex less than monthly, according to a new UCL study.

Getting a good night's sleep complicated by menopause
The value of a good night's sleep can't be underestimated.

Early menopause predictor of heart disease
Women who reach menopause before the age of 50 have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, according to researchers from The University of Queensland.

Microbes are a key marker of vaginal health during menopause
Certain species of bacteria are actually necessary to maintain vaginal health.

Read More: Menopause News and Menopause Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.