A new contraceptive pill, which the first to contain a natural form of oestrogen, may also boost women's sex drive. An international trial is to be conducted to determine this.
Family Planning NSW's research centre, the Royal Hospital for Women at Randwick and the University of Adelaide are among those taking part in the trial to see if the Qlaira pill can increase women's libido.
The study will also determine if the pill reduces period pain and headaches.
The findings of the study will not be available until next year, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
This pill is the first to contain oestradiol, the same oestrogen produced by the female body.
Although produced in a laboratory, when the oestradiol is metabolised it is identical to the naturally produced female sex hormone.
Later this year, manufacturers Bayer Schering Pharma will market the pill to Australian woman. It is already available in the US, Europe and Britain.
The pill has only two hormone-free days for each menstrual cycle instead of seven, so is expected to alleviate hormone withdrawal symptoms experienced by some women that lead to headaches and pelvic pain.
It has also been developed to correlate more closely to a woman's natural cycle.
Director of the Women's Health and Research Institute of Australia at the Royal Hospital for Women, Associate Professor John Eden, said the pill would be particularly beneficial for women approaching menopause who suffered from frequent, heavy periods.
The natural oestrogen is also thought to help women who get PMT symptoms, such as irritability and moodiness, while on the pill.
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