Washington, March 31 (ANI): Scientists say that the ordinary oral contraceptive pill (OCP) is a simple and effective remedy for ovarian endometriomas, better known as ovarian 'chocolate' cysts for the brown liquid they contain.
The cysts can be easily removed by surgery, but commonly recur and can cause ongoing pain and complications.
Neil Johnson and Shelley Reilly from Auckland, New Zealand, say that a trial has provided evidence that the OCP can reduce the reoccurrence of endometriomas after removal by surgery.
"This study is perhaps the only randomized controlled trial that has evaluated the effectiveness of the use of long-term postoperative OCP treatment to prevent endometrioma recurrence," the authors said.
The trial consisted of 239 patients who had just undergone surgery to remove endometriomas and who were randomized into groups: those with no prescribed treatment, those taking cyclic OCPs, and those taking continuous OCPs. Patients were followed up for two years.
Women who took OCPs had significantly fewer recurring cysts. Previous studies of the effectiveness of OCPs after laparoscopic cystectomy have produced conflicting results.
But long-term treatment seems to be the key: Johnson and Reilly say, "the length of treatment appears to play an important role in the efficacy of therapy".
Johnson and Reilly suggest an immediate change to current clinical practice: "If the use of an OCP is considered to reduce the risk of recurrence of an endometrioma after laparoscopic cystectomy, treatment should be given for at least two years".
The study has been published in the journal Fertility and Sterility. (ANI)