Understand the proper use of contraceptives and clear away the myths surrounding them
Contraception methods, their use and effectiveness have always been shrouded with a lot of doubt, misunderstanding and controversy; especially for women.
Owing to lack of complete and authentic information, there are more myths than facts on the subject. Even in today’s age and day, women are either steering clear of contraceptives or are adopting them without adequate information as to what suits them best.
In this article we’ll talk about some of the most doubted contraception options and bust the myths surrounding them, to help you make a wiser choice.
Vaginal douches, diaphragms and sponge
Birth control trivia:
Menstruation is no assurance against pregnancy. Pregnancy is possible even due to mid-cycle intercourse.
Sperms are able to survive within a women’s body for up to five days at times.
Breast feeding is not an automatic contraceptive.
Ovulation is possible even while feeding thus leading to an unplanned pregnancy.
Withdrawal before ejaculation does not prevent pregnancy.
Even the lubricating fluid from your partner may contain sperm and cause pregnancy.
Old age has nothing to do with not getting pregnant. If you are having your periods you can get pregnant.
Lesser frequency of sexual intercourse does not guarantee protection against pregnancy. Just once is enough.
Having many hormonal or menstrual problems does not mean you cannot conceive and can thus have unprotected sex.
Many believe that vaginal douches can be equally effective against pregnancy if used after sexual intercourse. This is not true. Douches if used after intercourse are rendered ineffective, as by then the sperm would have already moved upwards towards the egg. So, it is best to use them before having sexual intercourse rather than after.These are convenient contraceptives for women and are often used in combination with condoms for extra protection against pregnancy. They can be inserted in the morning for 24 hour protection. However, they are surrounded by many misconceptions.
- If you thought that vaginal diaphragms can be removed safely immediately after ejaculation; your gynaecologist will advise against it. It is best to wear your diaphragm for six to eight hours before you dispose it. For, the spermacide in the diaphragm takes this long to kill the sperm effectively.
- It is convenient but untrue to believe that a fresh diaphragm is unnecessary each time you have sexual intercourse. The spermacide dosage is used each time you have intercourse and thus needs to be refreshed.
- Many consider the latest vaginal sponges to work as effectively as diaphragms. However, one must know that while diaphragms fit deeper and better, sponges have a chance of dislodging easily. Therefore, being not so reliable means of contraception.
Pills, if used as per instructions, are so far one of the most effective methods of birth control, after condoms.
- People do like to believe that taking pills also keeps them protected against Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and HIV. This however is untrue. With pills, you can only prevent pregnancy, but cannot keep HIV or STDs at bay.
- Many women have been fed with the idea that birth control pills can cause cancer. This again is a common yet baseless misconception. Pills are not cancer causing agents; instead they are helpful in reducing cancers, especially ovarian and uterine cancer.
- Missing a pill often panics a woman into believing that she will be at a risk of conceiving. This is not true. While being regular with your pills is advisable, it is acceptable to take two pills the next day and make up for the one you missed.
- Many women avoid antibiotics due to fear of reducing the effects of their pills. Largely antibiotics do not interfere with the pill’s function. However, it is best to shift to stronger pills while on antibiotics for a long duration. Rifampin, which is used to treat tuberculosis, is the only antibiotic which interferes with pills.
- Pills are suspected to be the cause of weight gain in many women. This however, is not the complete truth. Often women on pills, tend to have an increased hunger, leading them to over eat and thus gain weight. It is advisable to manage these hunger pangs and eat a balanced and fiber rich diet so as to keep your weight under check while on pills. Drinking lot of water to avoid water retention by the body also helps.
- Many women believe that birth control pills will eventually harm their fertility if taken for long durations. On the contrary doctors often give pills to regulate cycles. Pills do not affect fertility.
- All birth control pills are often considered to be the same. However, while all pills use the same type of estrogen, their formulations of progesterone may vary from pill to pill. It is for this reason that doctors advise a change of pill if one kind is not suiting you. In addition the dosage levels also matter from person to person, depending upon the response.
Intrauterine device (IUD)
Many women are scared at the thought of even using an IUD. IUDs in the past have had the reputation of dislodging during sexual intercourse and also being painful. However, with new technology and better redesigned versions of IUDs now available, doctors vouch for them to be one of the safest and effective contraceptives.
- Gynecologists have clarified that IUDs do not interfere with the use of tampons and neither do they cause any pain. They however, suggest IUD use to only those women who have had babies. This is because; the uterus is larger after delivery and is able to hold an IUD better; thus, doing away with the risk of automatic repulsion by the body.
- IUDs suffer from yet another misconception. Many believe that using an IUD enhances the risk of the woman contracting a STD. The IUD does not increase your risk; infact it is only from an infected partner that this is possible and that too if unprotected.
Most women have been advised more than once by their friends or relatives to give their body a break from all birth control measures at least once a year. This is completely untrue. Your body does not want you to stop contraceptive use at any time. You may change the pill type; you may replace your IUD every 10 years and dispose your diaphragm, sponge and condom every time you have intercourse because your body demands so for extra protection against pregnancy. It however, never needs a break from contraception unless you want to conceive or have specific medical reasons.
So, leave behind the clouds of doubt and go ahead with your choice of contraception; your most feared myths are busted.
Also read Choose wisely for contraception