Menstrual suppression for combat operations: advantages of oral contraceptive pills.
ABSTRACT increasing numbers of women are deployed to austere settings in which menstruation may impose logistical challenges. Minimal data exists about the use of oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) for menstrual suppression in this population. Post-deployment survey was undertaken to establish prevalence of continuous OCP use, perceived barriers, and associations with menstrual burden in a military population within the austere environment.
voluntary and anonymous 44-item questionnaire.
of 500 women, 78% (n = 390) had personal experience using OCPs and 66% (n = 330) desired menstrual suppression. However, only 40% (n = 192) reported any OCP use and only 21% (n = 99) reported continuous use during deployment. Sixty-seven percent of women reported some difficulty in daily pill compliance and nearly half (45%) missed ≥ 1 pill per week in the austere setting. Continuous users were nearly twice as compliant as conventional users (p = .019) and compliant OCP users reported significantly less menstrual burden than noncompliant users (p = .017). Almost all women (85%) desired mandatory education about menstrual suppression through OCPs.
despite OCP experience and desire for amenorrhea, prevalence of extended cycle OCP use in this population is low. Extended OCPs users in the austere setting report improved compliance and reduced menstrual burden compared with conventional users. Education about OCPs is highly desirable for most military women and may benefit those in austere settings.
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ABSTRACT: Menstrual suppression to provide relief of menstrual-related symptoms or to manage medical conditions associated with menstrual morbidity or menstrual exacerbation has been used clinically since the development of steroid hormonal therapies. Options range from the extended or continuous use of combined hormonal oral contraceptives, to the use of combined hormonal patches and rings, progestins given in a variety of formulations from intramuscular injection to oral therapies to intrauterine devices, and other agents such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists. The agents used for menstrual suppression have variable rates of success in inducing amenorrhea, but typically have increasing rates of amenorrhea over time. Therapy may be limited by side effects, most commonly irregular, unscheduled bleeding. These therapies can benefit women's quality of life, and by stabilizing the hormonal milieu, potentially improve the course of underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or a seizure disorder. This review addresses situations in which menstrual suppression may be of benefit, and lists options which have been successful in inducing medical amenorrhea.International Journal of Women's Health 06/2014; 6:631-7.
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ABSTRACT: Servicewomen's reproductive health experiences during deployment are important given that the majority of women in the U.S. military are of reproductive age and that this population experiences a disproportionately high rate of unintended pregnancy. Few studies have explored women's reproductive health experiences and their perceived barriers and facilitators to health care access during deployment. From May 2011 to January 2012, we conducted 22 in-depth interviews with women in the U.S. military about their reproductive health experiences during deployment, including their access to health services. Participants identified a range of barriers to accessing medical care in deployment settings, including confidentiality concerns, lack of female providers, and health-seeking stigma, which were reported to disproportionately impact reproductive health access. Some participants experienced challenges obtaining contraceptive refills and specific contraceptive methods during deployment, and only a few participants received predeployment counseling on contraception, despite interest in both menstruation suppression and pregnancy prevention. These findings highlight several policy and practice changes that could be implemented to increase contraceptive access and reduce unintended pregnancy during deployment, including mandated screening for servicewomen's contraceptive needs before operational duty and at least annually, and increasing the number of female providers in deployed settings.Military medicine 06/2014; 179(6):645-652. · 0.77 Impact Factor
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