Potekhina Tatyana Dmitrievna, gynecologist and endocrinologist of the DIXION Clinic, tells about the myths associated with oral contraceptives including https://pillintrip.com/medicine/desirett.
Combined oral contraceptives.
Combined oral contraceptives (COC) are modern means to help women plan their lives. However, they still cause a storm of emotions among patients and some colleagues. Let’s examine, where is the truth and where is the myth about OCs.
Discussing the possible risks inherited from high-dose drugs of the middle of the last century, our countrywomen choose in favor of ineffective methods of contraception (calendar method, interrupted intercourse, barrier methods). The frequency of failures in this case is high. It is not without reason that experts in the gynecological community point out that in Russia termination of pregnancy is a method of family planning.
European countries have long surpassed us in the use of highly effective methods of contraception, which include combined oral contraceptives and mini-pills: there, about 40% of women use OC.
Advantages of OCs:
1) The primary plus of OCs is their effectiveness. There is a Pearl Index to evaluate its efficiency (the number of pregnancies, which occurred against the background of contraception in 100 women per year). So, with OCs this index ranges from 0.15 to 0.5. For comparison: condom – 12, interrupted intercourse – 18, calendar method – 20, spermicides – 21.
2) Another plus in favor of OCs is that modern drugs reduce the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer, preserve the woman’s ovulatory reserve (this is the number of oocytes capable of maturation and further fertilization in the ovaries).
Myths about OCs
Let’s talk about the main myths about OCs.
Myth 1: The use of hormonal contraception leads to weight gain, acne, and excessive body vegetation.
Indeed, the combined oral contraceptives of the first generations contained a high concentration of hormones, in particular estrogen, which promoted fluid retention in the body, thus increasing weight. But progress does not stand still. In modern drugs, the contraceptive effect is achieved with a minimal dose of hormones. For example, there are contraceptives that not only protect against pregnancy, but also solve additional problems – have a mild anti-androgenic effect, help clear the skin of acne. There are also contraceptives that help with premenstrual syndrome, fluid retention in the body. And some drugs are prescribed by doctors for patients suffering from endometriosis (for the prevention of recurrence of this disease).
Myth 2: OCs lead to gynecologic diseases and are contraindicated for adolescents.
In Russia every 10th girl of 15-19 years old has an abortion. This sad statistic has been kept for many years precisely because of fears that contraception with hormonal preparations can upset the hormonal balance of an immature body. WHO (World Health Organization) experts unanimously agree that abortion is traumatic for the young body, especially if it is the first pregnancy. In the European countries it is practiced to prescribe OCs from menarche (first menstruation) to the menopause, with a break for the birth of desired children. Besides, the use of OCs successfully eliminates such problems, as irregular menstrual cycle, premenstrual syndrome, and even benign diseases of mammary glands.
Myth 3: The use of OCs causes infertility.
We publish data that the long-term use of hormonal contraception does not affect the pregnancy.
Myth 4: OC use is also life threatening for blood clots, diabetes, and varicose veins.
There is no proven link between taking OCs and the development of diabetes and varicose veins. But like other medications, oral contraceptives have contraindications and side effects. The instructions indicate the risk of thrombotic complications, but it should be remembered that this condition in young people develops most often as a result of genetically determined disorders of blood clotting (thrombophilia) and is a rare condition. Therefore, it is important that the drug is chosen by the doctor, taking into account contraindications, concomitant pathology and examination data. In this case, the risk of side effects is minimized, and you get the maximum benefit in the form of menstrual control, the possibility of delayed onset of menstrual bleeding, the prevention of certain types of cancer, prevention and treatment of gynecological diseases, and most importantly – the birth of a desired and planned child.