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Do Contraceptives Contribute to Bladder Pain?

Champaneria R, D’Andrea RM, Latthe PM. Hormonal contraception and pelvic floor function: a systematic review. Int Urogynecol J. 2015 Sep 25. [Epub ahead of print]

The use of hormonal contraceptives is very popular in the United States and around the world, yet some questions remain regarding its potential influence on sexual symptoms, bladder/bowel issues such as incontinence, and other potential side effects. In this particular study, investigators hoped to determine whether or not these contraceptives affect pelvic floor function, thus increasing the risk of painful bladder and vulvar pain. They conducted a comprehensive and systematic review of published studies and found 13 high-quality studies that they analyzed in greater depth. By pooling the data from these studies, they found significant links between interstitial cystitis and oral contraceptive use, as well as links between vulvar pain and oral contraceptive use. This does suggest that oral contraceptives could have some effect on pelvic floor function; however, these findings are derived from previously published studies; more research in carefully designed, prospective trials would be needed to confirm a link between hormonal contraceptives and interstitial cystitis or vulvar pain.