Contraceptives for women
The world is ablaze with the choices of contraception available. But, before you pick the closest one available to you, there are certain things you should consider because different methods suit different people in different stages of life. Ask yourself these questions:
1.How important is it for you to avoid pregnancy? Is it very important, or could you manage if you became pregnant?
2.Your age and health are important factors, as there are medical conditions and circumstances for which you should avoid a pregnancy and for which the use of certain methods of contraception is not allowed or advisable. Your doctor should have access to your medical history.
3.Your relationship status needs to be taken into consideration. For example, are you in a committed relationship, or is your relationship open? How often do you have intercourse? Is your family completed, or do you still want to have children?
4.Do you want a contraceptive method that is independent of your sexual activity or could you integrate a barrier or behavioral method within your sexual activity?
What are the contraceptive methods?
Here’s a list of the different types of contraception that is available.
The Combined Pill
Ah, the pill. A girl’s best friend. Usually a woman is given one pack for each 28-day cycle. The type of pill a woman takes determines if she takes one every day or one daily for 21 days followed by a 7-day break.
This contraception comes equipped with benefits and some of them include, more regular periods, lowers the risk of fibroids, fewer ovarian cysts, etc.
Common Myth – The pill makes you gain weight.
With Low-Dose Pills, body weight usually remains constant. However, there may be some women who may slightly put on weight while others may lose weight. There is no major difference in this respect to women not taking the pill. With the development of modern pills, some pill can counteract water retention caused by the estrogen, thereby preventing weight gain due to water retention.
The hormones are released continuously, entering the bloodstream via the skin. You need to change the patch weekly for three weeks ,followed by a week’s break. It is not transparent, so this method of contraception is visible.
Headaches, breast tenderness, skin irritation & bleeding abnormalities.
This shot is usually given by a doctor once every month or once every three months. It is a hormonal method that is long-acting that provides effective contraception.
Weight gain, headaches, dizziness, pimples and greasy skin, bloating, weight gain, breast tenderness, abdominal discomfort, and changes in mood and sex drive. As the hormones cannot be removed from the body once the injection has been administered, side effects may continue from the time of the injection and for some time afterwards.
One or two small, soft, plastic rods containing a progestogen reservoir are inserted under the skin of the upper arm with minor surgery carried out by a trained doctor, midwife or nurse. The progestogen is released in tiny doses and the implant is effective for three to five years. It can be removed at any time by minor surgery. The implant is particularly suitable for women who want long-term contraception and wish to avoid daily intake of a contraceptive. It is also suitable for women who are breastfeeding. Fertility will return to normal when the implant is removed. An additional benefit is that it may also reduce heavy, painful periods.
Some women may experience headaches, breast tenderness, bloating and changes in mood and sex drive. Irregular bleeding may occur for the first few months.
The Progestogen-Only Pill (Mini-Pill)
This pill only contains a progestogen. A woman takes one pill every day, which means even taking pills during her period, without a pause between packs. There are different types of progestogen available. It can also be used while breastfeeding as it does not affect breast milk.
The progestogen-only pill must be taken each day at the same time or it does not work – any delay must not exceed more than three hours for some types, and up to 12 hours with others.
It can cause irregular bleeding, but this can settle with time. On the other hand, some women experience no bleeding at all. It may also initially induce temporary side effects such as pimples and greasy skin, breast tenderness, bloating and headaches.
Emergency Pill (Morning-After Pill)
Women should take the emergency pill as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse – ideally within 12 hours, but you can take it up to 72 hours after unprotected intercourse. The sooner a woman takes it the more effective it will be.
The emergency pill works by inhibiting ovulation.
This emergency method of contraception can be used if unprotected sex has taken place or when another method of contraception has failed (e.g. a torn condom or forgotten pill). It should not be used regularly, and is only intended as a back-up method.
Intrauterine System (IUS or Hormonal Coil)
A small, soft, plastic device with a reservoir containing a progestogen is inserted into the cavity of the womb by a trained doctor, midwife or nurse. The tiny dose of progestogen is released slowly from the system. The IUS prevents pregnancy by thickening cervical mucus at the entrance of the womb, making if difficult for sperm to get through. It also thins the lining of the womb to prevent an egg from being implanted, and in some women, ovulation is inhibited.
There may be irregular bleeding for the first few months, but this should soon settle down. Initial occurrence of headaches, breast tenderness or nausea is possible. Before insertion or removal, a treatment may be given to avoid pain.
Intrauterine Device (IUD or The Coil)
A small, soft device with a copper thread or copper cylinders that is inserted into the cavity of the womb by a trained doctor, midwife or nurse. It can be left in the womb for five to 10 years (depending on the type). The IUD affects the way that the sperm or the egg moves. It releases a substance that immobilizes the sperm and makes it difficult for the egg to travel along the fallopian tubes. If the egg becomes fertilized, the IUD affects the movement of the egg so that it travels too fast to be implanted in the womb.
It is not usually the first choice for women with anemia. The IUD neither protects nor increases the risk of pelvic infections. The IUD can also cause increased cramping, dizziness, and heavier and prolonged periods.
Female Sterilization (Tube Ligation)
Surgical procedure to cut or block the Fallopian tubes (which carry the egg from the ovary to the womb) so that the sperm cannot meet the egg. The operation affects a woman’s fertility potential and has no effect on the libido or the ability to have sexual intercourse.
Sterilization is only for people who have decided they definitely do not want to have children, either now or in the future. Although there is a chance of reversal, the procedure is complicated and rarely successful. Very occasionally, there can be a technical failure during the procedure where the Fallopian tubes reopen, or closure is incomplete.
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