Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Solberg, Julie


Dysmenorrhea, oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices


The purpose of this research and systematic literature review is to determine if oral contraceptives or intrauterine devices are more effective in the treatment of dysmenorrhea pain. It is estimated that at least 50% of women worldwide live with dysmenorrhea and there is very little research determining what the best treatment options are for it. The main treatment recommended by health care providers for dysmenorrhea are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen. However, this treatment option may not provide the relief that women with this condition need. This review used three main databases, including PubMed, Embase, and Clinical Key in order to find pertinent research and articles. A variety of key words were used in the search, such as dysmenorrhea, oral contraceptives, and intrauterine devices. The studies found were then narrowed down by excluding studies older than 2011 and including relatively pertinent studies that were either randomized controlled trials, clinical trials, openlabel, parallel group studies, interventional studies, observational studies, secondary analyses, or pilot studies. Out of the studies included in this review, only one compared the effectiveness of oral contraceptives and intrauterine devices. Each study reviewed showed that oral contraceptives and intrauterine devices were safe and effective options, but in a single head-tohead study, it was determined that intrauterine devices were superior in relieving dysmenorrhea. The evidence showed that intrauterine devices were often not as well tolerated and resulted in discontinuation of use due to the side effects. Despite the results of the article, more research needs to be conducted prior to making a definitive decision on the best treatment method for dysmenorrhea.