The prevailing view is still that contraception is a woman’s job to think about. But it is not. The main purpose of contraception is to prevent infection or unwanted pregnancy, which is in the interest of both partners. An obstetrician-gynaecologist tells us what other myths have overgrown the issue of contraception during sex.
A universal method of protection – the condom. But there are many other methods of protection: suppositories, coils, hormonal preparations. Choose according to the convenience of use specifically for you, the number of partners and the presence or absence of contraindications with your doctor.
The intrauterine device (IUD). Pros: reliable, lowest Perl index (number of pregnancies per 100 women who have used this method for a year). There is a hormonal coil that, in addition to contraception, has a curative effect. It is suitable for women with heavy periods. Disadvantages: risk of uterine and appendageal infections. Therefore, the coil is more suitable for women with a regular, proven partner.
Hormonal contraceptives. There are pure progestins (even suitable for breastfeeding mothers) and combined: oral (OCs, pills), transdermal (patch) and vaginal (elastic ring). The best-known ones are the OCs, but there are a lot of “myths” around them. I’ll try to dispel some of them.
Myth 1: Weight gain. There is no consistent evidence that OCs cause weight gain. There is some evidence that retention of fluid in the wrong type of OC can also cause weight gain.
Myth 2: Pregnancy will be a problem after OCs. If a woman cannot become pregnant after taking OCs, then she may have had problems before taking it but was not aware of it.
Myth 3: You have to take a pause in taking OCs. This is an old tactic; previously it was thought that one should not use OCs for a long time. Now it is proven that taking OCs for a long time reduces the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. If you stop using OCs, all the risks go up again.
Myth 4: You should have a blood test for hormones before prescribing OCs. This is not necessary. To prescribe hormonal contraceptives, it is sufficient to interview the patient in detail, find out whether there are risks of thrombosis, measure blood pressure, take a smear for oncocytology, perform a pelvic and breast ultrasound.
Of course, not everything is so serene. Hormonal contraception has contraindications: liver disease, diabetes with vascular complications, smoking over 35 years, identified thrombophilic mutations, uncontrolled arterial hypertension, migraine, thrombosis in the history.
Therefore, always consult a specialist when choosing a particular contraceptive method.