The facts about artificial methods of family Planning
Which is the most convenient family planning method for me? This is a popular question in the minds of many women of childbearing age. Just like we plan our finances and our other important activities, the decision of when to get pregnant and have a child should be carefully planned. Pregnancy is a pleasant experience that should not come as an unpleasant surprise as would be the case with unplanned pregnancies. Luckily, there are a variety of family planning options to choose from. However, the decision of which family method to use should be well thought and in conjunction with your gynaecologist. It is important to note that there is no fit-for-all type of contraceptive choice, and thus what is suitable for your friend may not be suitable for you. Similarly, the untoward effects that your friend may have experienced may not apply to you.
Emerging new contraceptive methods
When choosing an appropriate family planning method, you will come across some new emerging methods. Just like other medical fields, family planning is highly dynamic field. Medical professionals are continuously researching on new methods in a bid to improve convenience. Some of the newest methods include the contraceptive patch, vaginal ring and the combined contraceptive injection. There are some newer approaches that have been designed for tubal closure through the womb from below. After assessment, your healthcare provider will advise you on which options are safe for you to use.
When you feel that your desired family size has been achieved, it is possible to consider having a permanent sterilization. The options include either a tubal ligation (BTL) or vasectomy. Some of the considerations to bear in mind are that these options entail no desire for reversal, thus some risk of regret, and that there is a risk of failure, just like all methods of contraception.It is best that you and your spouse take time to deliberate on this method before making the decision. Once you have made the decision, your healthcare provider will guide you into choosing the most appropriate permanent method for you.
Condoms is one of the most popular artificial family planning method. Condoms are made of a special rubber sheath (latex) that can be worn by either a male or female partner during sexual intercourse. They essentially serve as a barrier that prevents genital fluids from mixing. They are hence a great way to prevent pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and AIDS. To be successful, the instructions on how to use a condom effectively need to be followed to the dot. You can get a demonstration on how to use a condom effectively from your nearest family planning health facility.
The pill is formulated to contain a hormone that influences the functioning of the ovaries. There are different types of pills depending on the hormonal composition. Basically, we have the combined contraceptive pill containing two female hormones known as oestrogen and progesterone and a mini pill that contains only progesterone. Due to the hormonal composition of the pill, there is modulation of how the ovary functions and therefore it prevents the egg from forming. The combined pill mimics the natural cycle and after the pill (free week) women experience a withdrawal bleed that represents the menstrual cycle. There is also an effect on the lining of the uterus that ensures a low chance of implantation and hence preventing pregnancy.
Non-contraceptive benefits of the pill
The use of the pill can be extended beyond prevention of pregnancy. Women who have painful and heavy periods while using the pill notice that the menstrual flow gets lighter and the pain disappears. This benefit can be enhanced by using the pill on a continuous basis for three months then breaking for a week and starting the cycle again. It has been shown that women who have used the pill for longer than five years and especially ten years have a lower risk of developing cancer of the ovary and the uterus later in their lives. There may be concerns about the use of the pill increasing the risk of cervix cancer. This is essentially because the pill does not protect against the virus causing cervical cancer. Similarly, the risk of increased transmission of HIV to partners of pill users exists. However, the absolute risk is lower than the consequences of not using contraception. You may wish to discuss further with your healthcare provider to make the right choice.
Side effects of the pill
Generally speaking, the pill has minimal side effects and is well tolerated by the majority of women who use it. In the initial months of using the pill, one may feel nauseated or have some bloating. These effects are minimised when the pill is taken close to bedtime. Some women may feel breast discomfort or have an unusual vaginal discharge. If you have any concerns, b sure to discuss them with your healthcare provider.
When not to use the pill
The pill is suitable for the majority of women who wish to use it as a contraceptive method. There are however, a number of circumstances in which the pill will not be advisable. Your healthcare provider will go through your medical and family history and be able to advise against the pill when particular risks exist. These include a history of a clot in your veins, uncontrolled high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes and active liver disease. If you have suffered from breast cancer, the pill will usually not be recommendable. Conditions like severe obesity and cigarette smoking may increase your risk of complications if used and you will generally be advised to avoid the pill if these exist.
The intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) is a method of family planning that was designed to avoid the general effects of hormonal contraceptives. The device is placed in the cavity of the womb where it exerts its effects. There are two types of contraceptive coils; the copper IUCD and the Mirena which is a special system with a hormone in the place of copper.
How the IUCD works
The conventional IUCD contains copper that is coiled on a T-shaped plastic device. This coil releases small amounts of copper within the cavity of the womb. These particles of copper are hostile to semen thus ensuring that no viable sperm reaches the egg. It usually does not affect the pattern of menstrual flow, except for a slight increase in flow volume. The Mirena system contains progesterone hormone that is released in small quantities over a period of time, up to a maximum of five years. The hormone thins the lining of the uterus making it unfavourable for implantation to take place. It is thought that the hormone may also reduce the chance of the egg being produced.
Side effects of the IUCD
The copper IUCD usually does not cause any significant changes to a woman's body except that the menstrual flow can become heavy in a small group of women. There may be some cyclic cramps in the lower abdomen especially at the time of the menstrual flow. Since the Mirena system has a hormone on the coil, there may be some effects on the menstrual flow. A majority of women will usually experience unscheduled vaginal bleeding that is scant, especially in the first three to six months after insertion. After this period, many women will have their periods disappear. This should not be a source of anxiety since it does not mean you are pregnant. A few women on Mirena may experience breast discomfort and occasional headaches, but this is quite unlikely to occur.
Contraindication of the IUCD
There are occasions when the IUCD may not be ideal as a method of family planning, for example when a woman has undiagnosed vaginal bleeding or cancer of the cervix and uterus. If there is an active pelvic infection due to a sexually transmitted infection, then one is advised to avoid the coil. You may wish to visit your healthcare provider to discuss specific situations that apply to you.
Implants are a form of hormonal contraception that are put under the skin of the inner upper arm. They contain one type of hormone known as progesterone. These implants are engineered to release the hormone in small portions over a long period of time. The commonest type of implant will usually last for five years, though there are some newer ones that may be used for a shorter period.
How the implants work
Implants contain a single hormone progesterone. This hormone influences the way the ovary functions by interfering with egg formation. Because the hormone is constantly being released into the body, this effect lasts as long as the implant is present. It is also thought that the hormone has an effect on the lining of the uterus by making it thin and therefore unfavourable for implantation. This influence on the uterus causes a change in the menstrual cycle with scanty irregular menses or no menstrual flow.
Contraindications of Implants
The contraceptive implant can be used in almost every circumstance. Since it contains the hormone progesterone, it is safe to use at all times of the reproductive life.
Side effects of Implants
The commonest side effect with the implant is unscheduled vaginal bleeding. Most women will experience scanty irregular vaginal bleeding. Sometimes, after a few months on the implant the vaginal bleeding may disappear completely. This should not be a cause of anxiety since you will not be pregnant.
When you have all the facts about the different methods of family planning available, it will be easy to make a choice. Be sure to work with your healthcare provider to help you choose the most convenient method for you. If you experience discomfort at any one time after your commence your new family planning method, be sure to check with your doctors. Remember you are a unique individual and therefore, your experience will be unique and different from that of your colleagues.
Attribution: Avallain Ltd