#Article (Archive)

Women, Birth Control pills and Implants

Apr 17, 2014, 9:53 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

Hello and welcome to a revived fashion of She She She, your weekly column that brings you issues of women and girls within the country and beyond.

Women have used birth control methods for thousands years both traditional and modern to reduce risk of pregnancy and birth spacing.Today we have safer and effective birth control methods available to women. All of us want to find the best method that is good for us and each of us has different need when choosing a method that is best for us.

An FP method suitable for one is not suitable for another; as such in choosing FP Method, learning about each method may help you make your decision.

Recently we have seen women, instead of going to reproductive health clinics to seek counseling on FP Method, prefer private pharmacy to buy the method they need.

There is wide range of birth control method for women to choose from.

Combined oral contraceptives are pills that contain low doses of 2 hormones and estrogen in a woman’s body.

Combined oral contraceptives are also called “the pill”. It works primarily by preventing the release of eggs from the ovaries.The effectiveness of the pill depends on the user; risk of pregnancy is greatest when a woman starts 3 or more days late or misses 3 or more pills near the beginning or end of pill pack.

As commonly used, about 8 pregnancies per 100 women using combined contraceptives over the first year meaning that 92 of every 100 women using COCs will not become pregnant.Most of the women may wonder if after taking COCs pregnancy may be possible.

The answer is, the moment you stop taking COCs, there is no delay and fertility returns to normal.COCs are oral contraceptives; as such they cannot prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

Every contraceptive has side effects when taken, as such the COCs are no exception.

The possible side effects of COCs are, changes in bleeding patterns including light and fewer bleeding, infrequent bleeding, No monthly bleeding, headaches, dizziness, Nausea, Breast tenderness and weight changes.

Most of the women say they prefer oral contraceptives because it is controlled by the woman. It can be stopped at any time without a provider’s help. It does not interfere with sex.

COCs also have known health benefits. It helps protect against risk of pregnancy, cancer of the lining of the uterus, cancer of the ovary symptomatic pelvic and inflammatory disease.

COCs must be taken every day whether or not a woman has sex that day. It does not make women infertile. It does not cause birth effects or multiple births. It does not change women sexual behaviour. It does not disrupt an existing pregnancy.

COCs can be used by all women safely and effectively including women who have children or no children, married or unmarried and have just had an abortion or miscarriage.

Unlike other contraceptives women can begin to use COCs without a pelvic examination, without any blood test or other routine tests, without cervical cancer screening.

If you are a woman and you are not comfortable with the COCs, all hope is not lost yet as you can as well check out Progestin Pills.

Progestin pills are pills that contain very low dose of a progestin like the natural hormone progesterone in a woman’s body.It does not contain estrogen and so can be used throughout breastfeeding and by women cannot used methods with estrogen. Progestin-only pills are also called “minipills”.

Progestin only oral contraceptive pills works primarily by thickening cervical mucus(this blocks sperm from meeting an egg disrupting the menstrual cycle including preventing the release of eggs from ovaries).

Its effectiveness depends on the user. For women who have monthly bleeding risk of pregnancy is greatest if pills are taken late or missed completely.

Some women prefer POPs because it can be used while breastfeeding. It can be stopped at any time without a provider’s help and it does not interfere with sex. It could be controlled by the women.

Like COCs, POPs also have side effects such as frequent bleeding, irregular bleeding, prolonged bleeding, headaches, dizziness and abdominal pain.

POPs does not cause a breastfeeding woman’s milk to dry up. It does not make women infertile, does not cause diarrhea in breastfeeding babies.It reduces the risk of ectopic pregnancy. POPs can be used by all women safely and effectively.

If you are not a fan of medicine you still have other methods to choose from, the implants.

Implants are small plastic rods or capsules each about the size of match stick that release a progestin like the natural hormones progesterone in a woman’s body.

For implants a specifically trained provider, a minor surgical procedure to place the implants under the skin on the side of a woman’s upper arm.

It does not contain estrogen so it can be used throughout breastfeeding and by women who cannot use methods with estrogen.There are many types of implants. The Jadelle is 2 rods effective for 5 years.Sino implants also known as femiplants trust implants and zarin has 2 rods effective for 4 years.

Implanon has one rod effective for 3 years. Norplants 6 capsules effective for 5 years.

The implants works by thickening cervical mucus. It is one of the most effective long lasting methods. Less than one pregnancy per 100 women using implants over the first year meaning that 9,9995 of every 10,000 women using implants will not become pregnant.A small risk of pregnancy remains beyond the first year of use and continues as long as the woman is using implants.

Some women prefer the implants because it does not require the user to do anything once it is inserted, prevents pregnancy effectively and are long lasting. The implants stops working once it is removed, the hormones do not remain in a woman’s body, do not make woman infertile and it does not move to other parts of the body. Nearly all women can use implants safely and effectively.

These are not the only contraceptives for women. There are varieties of FP Methods for one to choose from. The choice is in your hands or you can contact GFPA – Gambia Family Planning Association - for further information on FP Methods and usage for women.