Wed | Oct 21, 2020


Published:Wednesday | March 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Almost half of all pregnancies in Jamaica are unplanned. The rate is even higher in teenagers. In other words, they are due to failure to use contraceptives properly or at all. Some persons are afraid of getting injections but they do have several advantages.

There are three regularly used contraceptive injections in Jamaica, Depo-Provera (depot medroxyprogesterone acetate), Noristerat (norethisterone enantate) and Mesigyna (norethisterone/oestradiol combination).

The main advantages of using a contraceptive injection are they are very reliable (about 99% effectiveness) and they don't have to be used daily.

Depo-Provera and Noristerat are progesterone-only contraceptives. They work by preventing ovulation (egg release from the ovary), thinning the lining of the womb (thereby preventing implantation) and thickened the cervical mucus (impeding the entry of the sperms into the womb).

These two contraceptives can be used safely in breastfeeding mother, unlike the combined contraceptives (such as the contraceptive pills). They are also safer for hypertensive women. Women who use them do not usually have a regular period. Some women have no bleeding at all while some have irregular spotting and unfortunately a few have heavy bleeding. Some women may also have unwanted weight gain.

These side effects are more common with Depo-Provera than with Noristerat. Some persons also have depressed mood, skin changes, bloating, nausea, headache, breast tenderness and dizziness. Women with a diabetes, gallbladder disease, migraine and high risk of heart disease need to exercise special caution when using these contraceptives.

Mesigyna, on the other hand, is a combined contraceptive. It contains 2 hormones, as mentioned above. It is a monthly injection and prevents pregnancy mainly by preventing ovulation. However, unlike Noristerat and Depo-Provera, users will have a monthly period-like bleed. It basically functions like the contraceptive pill but all in 'shot', so to speak. It is very suitable for women who worry about forgetting to take the pill and ending up with an unplanned pregnancy.

There are some precautions, though, with this contraception. It should not be used in diabetics with circulatory problem, smokers over 35, migraine sufferers, those with a history of heart attack, stroke or deep vein thrombosis, severe liver disease. Some persons who use the contraceptive have nausea, skin changes and weight gain. It can reduce the risk of menorrhagia, ovarian cyst and cancers of the ovary, colon and womb.

So for those who aren't afraid of injection a contraceptive injection may be the one for you.