Progestins, synthetic versions of the hormone
progesterone, are used to treat
dysfunctional uterine bleeding. They are given either
as high-dose progestin pills or in the form of birth control pills.
|Generic Name||Brand Name|
|norethindrone||Aygestin, Micronor, Modicon, Norethin|
levonorgestrel intrauterine device (IUD) is also a
progestin treatment for dysfunctional uterine bleeding. This type of
IUD continually releases levonorgestrel, a form of
progesterone, into the uterus.
How It Works
Progestins prevent overgrowth of the
endometrium, which helps prevent
dysfunctional uterine bleeding. (Heavy bleeding is
often the product of irregular breakdown of an overgrown endometrium.) In teens
and women who aren't
ovulating regularly, progestins help restore a
You usually take
progestins 10 to 12 days every month.
Why It Is Used
Progestins are used to treat
irregular menstrual periods when no other uterine disease is present. They are
mainly used to restore hormonal balance and normal menstrual bleeding in teens
and women who aren't ovulating. Also, they are helpful for some ovulating women with
irregular menstrual bleeding.2
High-dose progestin pills used to treat uterine bleeding are
not the same progestin pills used for birth control. A
levonorgestrel intrauterine device (IUD) or a combination estrogen-progestin
birth control pill is a better choice for women who want to prevent
How Well It Works
Progestin therapy effectiveness
varies with the type of dysfunctional uterine bleeding treated and the dosage
and timing of treatment.
The side effects of high-dose progestins
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Many doctors consider
short-term cycled progestin as a first-line treatment for dysfunctional uterine
Oral progestin in the dose prescribed for dysfunctional
uterine bleeding is not an effective birth control agent. Use a dependable form
birth control if you wish to prevent pregnancy.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Fritz MA, Speroff L (2011). Abnormal uterine bleeding. In Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, 8th ed., pp. 591-620. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Lobo RA (2007). Abnormal uterine bleeding: Ovulatory
and anovulatory dysfunctional uterine bleeding, management of acute and chronic
excessive bleeding. In VL Katz et al., eds., Comprehensive Gynecology, 5th ed., pp. 915-931. Philadelphia: Mosby