The "pill" has become the first choice for treating dysmenorrhea and, as such, is frequently dispensed for teen women because the mid-teens seems to be a time for this. As women age this is less of a problem. Too many doctors (or women or mothers) simply use the pill rather than getting to the real problem. Many of these young women are aware that they are on birth control and simply continue for contraception. There is some controversy over the effectiveness of modern, low dose pills for this but studies have shown that the Nuva Ring and Mirena IUD, both placing very tiny amounts of hormone in the system, reduce painful periods by up to fifty percent. This is the primary "off label" or alternative use of hormonal birth control. Sometimes it is used exactly as for birth control, three weeks on and one off, and sometimes it is used continuously for a few moths and then a week off.
This would be the primary alternative use. Some of the pills are also approved, or commonly used for, acne, endometriosis, pre-menstrual syndrome and, even, with iron supplement in the pill, anemia. Hirsutism (excess hair in unwanted places) will sometimes be treated, at least in part, with the bcp. Dosages and treatment regimen would vary.
I would not even guess what percentage of women are using the pill primarily for these but I will guess that they are doing double duty as a contraceptive in most cases. Roughly 80% of women in the industrialized world use the pill at some time during their lives. I have had mothers demand that their daughters be put on bcp but in discussion with the daughter alone discover that the mother recently found that the daughter was active sexually. At time for menopause, the pill is not used to relieve symptoms but other hormonal concoctions are. I put myself on one at the first signs.
I am certain there are studies that have estimated the answer to your question. I shall try to find estimates and add here.
Posted: 30 Sep 03:26