Common contraception myths addressed

Currently, many birth control options are available to women, however there is some misinformation. This article will tackle the most common contraception misconceptions.

You have to take a pill during the same time every day:

Whilst having a daily routine of taking the pill at the same time every day is a good practice it is still effective if it is taken within a certain period window. For example, a Combined pill (estrogen and progesterone) can be taken within the window of 12 hours, whilst a progesterone-only pill has a window of 3 hours.

Intra-Uterine Devices (IUD) are only used in women who had children:

An IUD is a small device that is inserted into the uterus providing an extremely effective, long-term contraceptive method. In Australia, they are available in two types: hormonal based (Mirena®) and non-hormonal (Multiload-Cu375®).

BS Intrauterine Copper contraception 300x300

Post-birth, the cervix and the uterus may be slightly larger, making the insertion of an IUD easier, as well as reducing the risk of expulsion risk. Nevertheless, it is frequently recommended to women who have not had children, due to the many benefits it provides. For example, Mirena may help with heavy painful periods in a young woman. Moreover, IUDs are effective since there is no reliance on a woman remembering to take something every day. Another benefit is that once an IUD is removed a woman can fall pregnant straight away. Finally, IUDs are an extremely cost-effective method since the device may stay in for up to 5 years.

Using contraception for a long-time will make it harder to get pregnant later:

Most of the modern contraceptive methods are reversible. However, the time for the ovulation to resume depends on the product used. Let’s take a look at specific examples: 1) Progesterone depot (DepoProvera®) – this is an oily Intra-Muscular injection that slowly releases the hormone into the woman’s body. It may take 6-9 month for the hormone to exit your body before the woman’s fertility is restored. 2) Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill – After ceasing the pill return of fertility is within 3 month. 3) Intra-Uterine Device (Mirena®, Multiload-Cu375®)– once the device is removed return of fertility is immediate.

The pill makes you gain weight:

Unfortunately, most contraceptive pills have the potential for weight gain. Nevertheless, this effect varies from woman-to-woman and also depends on the type of the pill. For example, the newer combined pills containing drospirenone (progesterone) have minimal effect on the weight gain and may even contribute to the weight reduction by assisting with fluid retention.

New generation pills are more harmful then the older brands:

Recently in the media there’s been a coverage of the never pills: Yasmin and Yaz, and the risk of stroke. Whilst some studies have shown a slightly higher risk of blood clots in women taking newer birth control pills, this risk is still very low and much lower than the risk of developing a blood clot during pregnancy. Your prescribing doctor will make a detailed assessment of your individual risks and advice on the best option.

During breastfeeding you can’t get pregnant:

Whilst breastfeeding tends to suppress ovulation, particularly in the first 6 month post-partum, it is not a guarantee. Doctors recommend a back up contraceptive method during this time. One of the popular options is progesterone-only pill (Microlut®), which does not affect the flow of the milk.

It is not healthy to skip your period on a pill:

Cycle control of the combined contraceptive pill is one of its many advantages. This means you can safely manipulate and even skip your withdrawal bleed. Just be aware that there is a chance of breakthrough bleeding or spotting when delaying your period by a month or two.

Morning after pill can only be taken 3 times in your life:

If there are no contraindications to taking the emergency pill there are no limitations to how many times a woman can use it in her life-time. However, frequent use highlights a lack of effective contraceptive cover and it is best to speak to your doctor about suitable options for you.

Herbal teas can stop the pill working:

Generally, herbal teas do not interact with the pill’s contraceptive effect. Recently in the media there has been coverage of a slimming herbal tea product Bootea, causing failures of the pill. This particular tea has got senna in the night time formulation, which causes a laxative effect in the morning. In general, any laxative effect around pill-taking-time, may affect its absorption and therefore reduce the contraceptive cover.

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