Take control of your ovaries
Sometimes when it comes to contraception, many women get the advice of a good friend and just grab a box, but there is a lot more to the little pill that we take for granted and more options for women who just prefer not to take a pill a day.
It is advised that before taking an oral contraceptive that a woman consults her physician. Obstetrician/gynaecologist Dr Theophilus Nelson advises that there are even some women who should not take oral contraceptives that include oestrogen and progesterone formulations, which you would be made aware of by your physician. Women who fall into this category include those who have uncontrolled high blood pressure, those who are obese, smokers older than 35 years old, those who have severe migraines, heart disease, a history of blood clots and liver disease, to name a few.
THE OB/GYN VISIT
He further notes that this visit with the physician should include both an assessment of one's history as well as physical examination.
"The visit should also entail counselling on all other available options of contraceptive, information on how to use the method, information on interventions to be taken if a dose is missed, discussion of side effects and information regarding non-contraceptive benefits," he told Flair.
It is important that women evaluate every option as it pertains to the choice of contraceptives that they are willing to take. There are several options which fall into two categories - hormonal and non-hormonal for those women who are predisposed to illnesses that might be affected by added hormones in their systems. Some of the hormonal options include oral contraceptives - the Pill; NuvaRing - vaginal ring; Ortho Evra - patch; Depo-Provera - injectable; Intrauterine Device IUD specifically the Mirena, Progestin-releasing IUD; and Implanon - implant under the skin.
A few non-hormonal options include barrier methods, such as condoms for both males and females, vaginal spermicides, diaphragm, contraceptive sponge and cervical cap. Outside of the barrier methods intrauterine device IUD - ParaGard, Copper T; fertility awareness; withdrawal; and sterilisation - vasectomy and tubal ligation.
Because of the numerous options, it is hard for anyone to state which would be best for a particular individual. Each has its advantages and disadvantages and every woman's needs are unique, hence the importance of the consultation prior to taking any.
One thing that quite a few women are not aware of is that birth control has other benefits, thus there are some women who are placed on them whether or not they are sexually active. Here are a few benefits, according to Dr Nelson:
- Cycle regulation for women with irregular periods
- Decreased menstrual flow in those with very heavy periods
- Decreased pain for women with painful periods
- Decrease risk of fibroids
- Treatment of acne
- Decreased hirsutism - male-pattern hair growth in women
- Treatment of persons with ovarian cysts
- Decrease the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer
Dr Theophilus Nelson is a resident in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University Hospital of the West Indies.