Contraception: It’s your choice!

Birth control is an important part of women’s reproductive life, it empowers women to make decisions regarding family planning and their reproductive health. There is a wide range of contraceptive options available, providing freedom to choose the method that best suits your lifestyle and preferences. In this article we will summarize the various options available, their mechanisms, effectiveness, and considerations to help you make the right choice.

1. Hormonal methods – by preventing ovulation and /or by changing the mucous of the cervix:

  • Oral contraceptive pills:

a. Combined oral contraceptives – contain hormones oestrogen and progestin, these allow you to have a regular period.

b. Progestin-only-pill – also known as the mini-pill, unlike the combined pill this only has one hormone — progestin. This should be taken at the same time                 daily and may be considered if you are unable to take oestrogen.

  • Injection – a progestin injection given in the upper arm or buttocks that lasts for up to three months.
  • Implant – a small flexible rod inserted under the skin of your upper arm that contains the hormone progesterone and prevents pregnancy for up to three years.
  • Intrauterine System (IUS) – a T-shaped device placed in the uterus that releases progesterone and provides protection for up to eight years.

2. Non-hormonal methods:

  • Barrier – condoms, diaphragms, and cervical caps; these keep sperms from getting to the egg.
  • Copper Intrauterine device (IUD) – this is placed in the uterus and uses copper to prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years.
  • Natural – by keeping track of your menstrual cycle and avoiding intercourse during fertile periods.
  • Sterilization – permanent method of contraception, including tubal ligation.

3. Emergency contraception:

  • also called “morning-after pill” which can be used after unprotected intercourse to decrease the chance of pregnancy.

Effectiveness and considerations

Effectiveness of different methods varies, hormonal contraceptive methods when used correctly are very effective with failure rates of less than 1%. However barrier and natural family planning methods are less effective with higher failure rates.

Certain health conditions such as history of blood clots, breast cancer or liver disease may preclude you from using some contraceptives .Therefore discussing your options with a doctor prior to commencing is imperative.

Other factors influencing your choice of contraception include your lifestyle, daily routines, personal preferences, duration of time for which contraception is needed. Understanding potential side effects of different contraceptives such as mood swings, breast tenderness, changes to weight and menstrual cycle is crucial to making a choice.

In conclusion, with so many options available it is vital to make an informed decision by discussing with your DR and choosing the method that best suits your individual needs, goals and life style. Finally, female contraception not only empowers women to seize control of their reproductive health but also enables them to have the freedom to pursue their lives with confidence.

To discuss contraception option that works best for you, book your appointment with our DRs online, Dr Sheema Itrat is based in IMC Katong.

Dr Sheema Itrat

Family Physician

Languages: English, Hindi, Punjabi

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