University is known as a time for exploration. We begin exploring our identities, what we want to do and, most excitingly, sex. Although figuring out what we like and how we like it can be fun, the chance of getting pregnant can put a downer on things.
The kind of contraception you use is personal because everyone has responds differently to each method. The various hormones used are not uniform and can have a variety of effects. This column will explore and explain different methods of birth control each week.
The Combined Contraceptive Pill
The pill is most commonly known form of contraceptive among women. It was created in the 1960s and was hailed as the beginning of asexual revolution for women. This pill allowed them to take control of their own reproduction, control the number of children and put a new perspective on the ownership of their own bodies.
A recent study by the South African Government into its Millennial Goals in Maternal Mortality showed that by 2005 65% of sexually active women used some form of contraceptive.
The popularity of the pill can be easily attributed to its availability. The Rhodes Health Care Centre provides two kinds of the pill, Oralcon (or Nordette) and Trigestrel (Triphasil).
“Anyone can come get the pill, we only do consultations with the nurse if it is the first time requesting to be clear on which contraceptive to take,” explained Lunga Jadi, Administrator at the Health care Centre.
These pills are called combined pills because they use both manufactured hormones estrogen and progestin to stop the release of eggs from the ovaries. In addition, it thickens the cervical mucus in order to make it more difficult for the sperm to get to an egg.
When taken every day this pill is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. However, certain things such as antibiotics can cancel out the pill. So when taking new medication it is always best to ask your doctor about how it will affect the pill.
“I’m on the pill for my skin and as a form of contraceptive,” said Sarah Lax, a third year student, “It’s easy to use since I take other pills anyway, so I never forget.”
Positive side effects of the pill also include easing period cramps and creating lighter periods, are often a motivator for its use.
On the other hand some women may suffer from the more negative responses can occur such as nausea, lower libido and bloating.
“I had been using the pill for six years and noticed that I had no sex drive,” said Claire Mclaughlin. “After changing brands I felt entirely better and my sex drive was back to normal levels.”
Such situation can often be dealt with by changing brands of the pill. Brands such as Yaz, Gianvi, Yasmin, Ocella, Syeda, Zarah, Beyaz, and Safyral all use a different kind of progestin which has been seen to create a higher risk of blood clots.
As a result, those who have had kidney, liver or heart problems should make this known to their doctor so that they can prescribe a different brand or a different method of contraception.
Coming up next week: The mini-pill