Birth control is a way of preventing pregnancy before it begins. Hormonal contraception is a highly effective kind of birth control. There are myths associated with using it, such as that it may cause infertility or cancer, which are not true.
HOW DOES HORMONAL CONTRACEPTION WORK?
Each month a woman releases an egg which, if in contact with sperm during sex, gets fertilized. This results in pregnancy. Hormonal birth control prevents that by stopping the egg from being released that month (ovulation). The contraceptive pill, contraceptive patch, contraceptive ring, contraceptive implant and contraceptive injection are all methods of hormonal contraception.
HOW IS USING HORMONAL CONTRACEPTION DIFFERENT FROM USING CONDOMS?
Hormonal contraception does not prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV. Condoms have to be used for that. Whilst condoms are the most effective way of preventing STIs, they can slip or tear during sex which will result in pregnancy. They also have to be used every time you have sex in order to prevent pregnancy. This makes hormonal contraception a more convenient way of family planning.
HORMONAL CONTRACEPTION DOES NOT CAUSE INFERTILITY
Once you have stopped using hormonal contraception the egg will restart being released which enables pregnancy. Hormonal contraception does not affect fertility in long-term because it uses hormones that are naturally produced by our body (oestrogen and progesterone).
HORMONAL CONTRACEPTION DOES NOT CAUSE CANCER
There are no reliable scientific studies that prove that there is a direct link between hormonal birth control and cancer. In fact, some studies have shown that it reduces the risk of some types of cancer.
HORMONAL CONTRACEPTION DOES NOT DECREASE LIBIDO
There are no reliable studies that have shown a correlation between sex drive and hormonal birth control. Hormonal contraception does not decrease the partner’s sex drive either, nor makes the woman taking it less attractive.
WHAT IS THE BEST FORM OF HORMONAL CONTRACEPTION?
There is no one best hormonal contraceptive. Contraceptive pills have to be taken every day to be effective, which might make them less convenient. On the other hand, contraceptive implants are placed under your skin by a doctor and remain active for three to five years. However, the implants are usually less widely available and more expensive. Meanwhile, contraceptive injections are the cheapest form of hormonal contraception, their effect lasts for three months and they are more widely available.
Contraceptive injections work by injecting hormones which prevent pregnancy under the skin through a needle by a doctor or through self-injection, given relevant training. An example of contraceptive injections is Sayana® Press. It is available at US$0,85 per dose.
OTHER BENEFITS OF HORMONAL CONTRACEPTION
Aside from being a highly effective and convenient way of family planning, taking hormonal contraceptives reduces period pain, skin breakouts and makes your period shorter and lighter. It can also be used to treat endometriosis – a disease which causes depletion of the lining of the uterus, severe pains and infertility.