Contraception and Birth Control
The aim of contraception and family planning is to avoid any unwanted pregnancies. It is of paramount importance for individuals of both genders but especially women to have access to effective contraceptive options. Our doctors would be able to discuss the indications for contraception as well as the different methods available without any prejudice. Pros and cons of each method should be explored before an individual makes his or her decision.
1. Oral contraceptive pills (OCP)
Oral contraceptive pills (OCP) are an effective option for contraception as they regulate the female hormone levels and prevent any eggs from being released by the ovaries (Ovulation). These hormone pills contain the 2 female hormones progesterone and estrogen. The hormone changes as a result of taking the OCP also makes the cervical mucus thicker making it tough for sperm to enter the uterus and thins the uterus lining making it more difficult for an egg to implant on the uterus wall. All these changes to a woman’s body prevent unplanned pregnancies up to an efficacy of 97-99%.
There are several myths surrounding OCPs which tend to dissuade women from trying them. Many assume it is associated with infertility and a myriad of side effects. Countless studies have shown that OCPs do not cause infertility.
Side effects are often minimal and temporary. However, every woman is unique and it might take time to find a particular brand that suits her with no side effects. Do take time to discuss with our doctors regarding your concerns and queries about OCPs and their risks and side effects. There are also numerous different brands in the market and this can be confusing to someone wanting to take them for the first time. Let our doctors help you understand the components and hormones within an OCP, explain the safety and efficacy of the OCP and the difference between the many brands on the market to aid you in your choice for the OCP which suits you the best.
“Continuous regime” or the “cyclical regime”, these are terms you might have heard or read when researching about how to take OCPs. What should you do if you miss a pill or lost your medications? Take time to consult our doctors on how best to take your OCPs and measures you need to take if you forget your pills.
- Contraceptive patches
Contraceptive patches work in a similar fashion to OCPs in regulating the hormone levels and preventing ovulation. The patches contain the 2 female hormones progesterone and estrogen like OCPs. The patch also makes the cervical mucus thicker making it harder for sperm to enter the uterus and thins the uterus lining thus making it harder for an egg to implant on the uterus wall. All these changes to a woman’s body prevent unplanned pregnancies up to an efficacy of 97-99%.
More women are now choosing to use the patches as they are more convenient and there is less worry regarding missing or forgetting to take the OCPs. The efficacy and side effect profile is similar to OCPs. You can place it over your shoulder, hips or buttocks and still maintain an active lifestyle. Swimming and bathing do not cause the patches to fall off and you only need to change the patch once a week.
Whether to use the patches continuously on in a cyclical method every 3 weeks would depend on the choice of the individual. Take time to consult our doctors on how best to use the patches and what steps you need to take if the patches come off by accident or if you forget to change them on time.
- Emergency Contraception
Emergency contraception is required to prevent unwanted pregnancies in women after intercourse. Common reasons for this include missing the regular oral contraceptive pills or barrier method condom spillage or breakage. There are several options in the market, do discuss with our doctors on the indications, benefits and side effects for each option.
- Other forms of contraception
There are many other alternative forms of contraception like intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCD), depot injections or even surgery like tubal ligation. Feel free to discuss these options with our doctors and we would be glad to link you up with the appropriate specialists who would be able to assist you.