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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 Name Brand Name
norethindrone Micronor, Norethin
Generic Name Brand Name
norethindrone plus estrogen Brevicon, Modicon
Generic Name Brand Name
norethindrone acetate Aygestin
norethindrone acetate plus estrogen Loestrin
medroxyprogesterone Provera
megestrol acetate Megace

Intramuscular (IM, into the muscle)

Generic Name Brand Name
medroxyprogesterone acetate Depo-Provera

Intrauterine device (IUD) with progestin

Generic Name Brand Name
levonorgestrel IUD Mirena

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.

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Hives.
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding that lasts for a long time.

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.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised October 30, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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