Modern contraceptive pills have evolved into a much safer option for birth control.
IF one were a fly on the wall listening in on a typical mother-daughter conversation, one might hear the following:
Mother: Dear, now that you are married, when are you going to have kids?
Daughter: Hmmm, maybe in a few years, after I’ve enjoyed married life for a while.
In addition to protecting women against unplanned pregnancies, the Pill can also reduce ovulation pain, menstrual cramps, and PMS symptoms.
Mother: Don’t wait too long, you’re already 30 and the clock is ticking …
Daughter: Don’t worry, I have my family planning covered. I think the Pill is the most convenient way.
Mother: Are you sure you want to go on the Pill? You might not be able to conceive when you are ready to be pregnant!
The mother just stated one of the most common myths concerning the contraceptive Pill. To help you separate myth from fact, here’s a list of the top 10 myths surrounding the contraceptive pill.
Myth 1: The Pill affects fertility
Fact 1: Most modern oral contraceptive pills contain a very low dose of hormones compared to the pills of the 1960s and 70s, and women can rapidly return to their pre-existing level of fertility upon discontinuing the Pill.
Fertility is affected by age. Many women take the Pill as a form of contraception during their younger years. However, by the time they decide to be off the Pill in order to conceive, their increased age has reduced their chances of pregnancy. This practice may contribute to the false perception that the Pill affects fertility.
In fact, the Pill actually protects women against ectopic pregnancies and fibroids, conditions which may have a negative impact on fertility.
Myth 2: The Pill causes weight gain
Fact 2: Some women may feel bloated when they start a new oral contraceptive. But this rarely exceeds a few pounds and this typically improves within a few months. Many clinical studies have found no relationship between modern low dose oral contraceptives and weight gain.
The feeling of “bloatedness” is due to water retention, which occurs in the week before menstruation and is commonly believed to be caused by the oestrogen content of the contraceptive pill.
Today, oral contraceptive pills that contain the newer progestin called drospirenone can directly prevent water retention that contributes to the weight gain associated with the pill.
Myth 3: The Pill causes cancer
Fact 3: False! Oral contraceptive pills actually protect women from ovarian and uterine cancer. When researchers from Harvard Medical School analysed 20 studies on oral contraceptive use and ovarian cancer, they found that the risk of ovarian cancer actually decreased with increasing duration of oral contraceptive use (10-12% decrease in risk after a year of use, and about 50% decrease after five years of use).
The use of the pill has also been shown to significantly reduce the risk of endometrial cancer. This protective effect also increases with the length of time the pill is used, and continues for many years after a woman stops using oral contraceptive pills.
It can however, very slightly increase the risk of breast cancer. As breast cancer is not common in women under 40 years of age, the excess number of breast cancer diagnoses in current and recent contraceptive pill users is small in relation to overall risk of breast cancer in the population.
Myth 4: Women who are on the Pill for a long time need to take a “break” once in while
Fact 4: There is no reason for a healthy woman to take a break from using oral contraceptives. Oral contraceptives are one of the most effective contraceptive options available, and taking a “Pill break” will increase your risk of having an unplanned pregnancy if you are sexually active.
Myth 5: All oral contraceptives are the same
Fact 5: There are many oral contraceptives available to women today, with each offering different benefits. The newer 24/4 regimen pill with the progestin called drospirenone, is the only oral contraceptive that is clinically proven to give women relief from the emotional symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, reduce weight gain, and other physical symptoms due to water retention as well as improve acne, in addition to effectively preventing pregnancy.
It is important to speak with your healthcare provider when deciding which product and method of contraception is best suited for your needs or health condition.
Myth 6: Taking the Pill past the age of 40 is risky
Fact 6: The Pill can be taken until a woman reaches menopause. However, female smokers over the age of 35, or women with high blood pressure and diabetes have their heart disease and stroke risks elevated if they take the Pill.
One should consult a healthcare provider to determine the method of contraception best suited for one’s health condition.
Myth 7: The Pill causes birth defects
Fact 7: To date, over 100 million women worldwide have benefited from use of the Pill and enjoy a better quality of life. There is no evidence that links use of the Pill with birth defects.
Myth 8: The Pill is only used for contraception
Fact 8: In addition to protecting women against unplanned pregnancies, the Pill is also effective in reducing ovulation pain, menstrual cramps, and PMS symptoms. It can also reduce the risk of anaemia, a condition common in women experiencing heavy periods.
The Pill also protects women against ectopic pregnancy, osteoporosis, ovarian cysts, and ovarian cancer.
Myth 9: Taking the Pill will delay menopause
Fact 9: Taking the Pill does not delay or affect the onset of menopause in a woman. The average age of menopause in women is between 45 and 55 years.
Myth 10: Antibiotics affect the efficacy of the Pill
Fact 10: The contraceptive efficacy of the Pill is not affected even when it is taken with antibiotics. However, you should always inform your doctor of the medications that you are taking before he or she prescribes you any additional medication such as antibiotics.
The Pill is one of the most effective and convenient methods of contraception available today. Whilst each woman needs to determine her choice of contraception according to her lifestyle and needs, she needs to be equipped with the right facts to manage her family planning when the need arises. If you need more information on the Pill, please visit www.yesican.com.my.
This article is contributed by Dr S.Y. Chong, medical advisor with Bayer Schering Pharma. This information is provided for educational purposes only and should not be taken in place of a consultation with your doctor. Bayer Schering Pharma disclaims any and all liability for injury or other damages that could result from use of the information obtained from this article.
source : http://www.thestar.com.my/