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Progestin for Chronic Pelvic Pain

Examples

Oral (pill)

The dose of oral progestin is progressively increased until symptoms are relieved or you cannot tolerate the side effects.

Generic NameBrand Name
norethindroneMicronor, Norethin
Generic NameBrand Name
norethindrone plus estrogenBrevicon, Modicon
Generic NameBrand Name
norethindrone acetateAygestin
norethindrone acetate plus estrogenLoestrin
medroxyprogesteroneProvera
megestrol acetateMegace

Intramuscular (IM, into the muscle)

Generic NameBrand Name
medroxyprogesterone acetateDepo-Provera

Intrauterine device (IUD) with progestin

Generic NameBrand Name
levonorgestrel IUDMirena

How It Works

Progestin, a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone, can relieve chronic pelvic pain by suppressing the menstrual cycle.

Why It Is Used

Progestin is used to treat chronic pelvic pain when:

  • Symptoms are mild to moderate.
  • Birth control is desired or childbearing is completed.

Injections of medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera) can relieve chronic female pelvic pain and are also an effective form of birth control.

The levonorgestrel (LNg) intrauterine device (IUD) releases levonorgestrel, a form of progesterone, into the uterus. In addition to reducing cramping and heavy menstrual bleeding (dysfunctional uterine bleeding), this type of IUD is a highly effective method of birth control.

How Well It Works

Effect on chronic pelvic pain symptoms

  • Symptoms improve.
  • Pelvic pain and pain during periods are usually reduced.

Recurrence

Progestin is only a temporary solution. When treatment stops, the symptoms of chronic pelvic pain gradually return. Women with more severe pain are more likely to have symptoms return. This may happen earlier than in women who have minimal symptoms.

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call911or other emergency services right away if you have:

Call your doctor if you have:

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting to light vaginal bleeding.
  • Absence of menstrual bleeding (amenorrhea).
  • Symptoms of blood sugar problems (frequent urination, loss of appetite, or unusual thirst).

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.

Checkups

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last RevisedOctober 30, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 30, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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