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CONTRACEPTIVE INJECTIONS: A BETTER OPTION?

INTRODUCTION 

An overview has been given earlier on Contraception or birth control. In this article, we will be talking about Contraceptive injections also know as injectables or birth control shots. 

A lot of people have heard about it but only a fraction know what it is. I bet about 80% are scared of it. The name alone, INJECTABLES, may send spikes through your body. Do not worry, Mednert has got you covered.

WHAT ARE CONTRACEPTIVE INJECTIONS?

Contraceptive injections are a form of birth control in which a hormone is injected into your body to help prevent pregnancy. It provides 2-3 months (depending on which injection you have) so you do not have to worry about contraception on every occasion you have sex during this period.

It is of immense use in women who find it difficult to remember to take a pill at the same time every day.

The contraceptive injection is a very efficient long-acting reversible method of contraception.

Also, It is 20x more efficient than short-term contraceptive methods. 

You must ensure taking the injection every 2-3 months, if not, you risk getting pregnant.

HOW EFFECTIVE ARE CONTRACEPTIVE INJECTIONS?

The effectiveness of all birth control methods depends on your age, how frequently you have sex and whether you follow instructions.

Injectables are more than 99% effective if you follow the instructions accordingly. This means that less than one injection-user in 100 will get pregnant in one year.

HOW DO THEY WORK?

The contraceptive injections continuously release the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream, which prevents ovulation (egg release) at the end of the month.

Injectables also thicken the cervical mucus, which makes it hard for sperm to move through the cervix, and thins the womb’s lining so a fertilized egg is less likely to implant itself.

TYPES OF CONTRACEPTIVE INJECTIONS

Contraceptive injections

The types of contraceptive injections are:

  • Depo-Provera
  • Sayana Press
  • Noristerat

They release Progestogen into your bloodstream to prevent pregnancy.

DEPO-PROVERA is very common and lasts for 13 weeks. It is the brand name for MEDROXYOROGESTERONE ACETATE and it contains the hormone progestin. You take Depo-Provera as an injection every 3 months. It suppresses ovulation by:

  • by preventing your ovaries from releasing an egg
  • and also thickening your cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg.

NORISTERAT lasts for about 8 weeks. It is useful in women who are being immunized  against rubella and who partner is having vasectomy. 

SAYANA PRESS lasts for 13 weeks also. Although it is a new form of Depo-Provera, It is not so common. Its mechanism of action is similar to that of Depo-Provera.

HOW ARE THEY GIVEN?

Injectables

Depo-Provera and Noristerat injections are given in your buttocks, you can also have them in your upper arm, anyone that would be convenient for you.

While Sayana Press injection is given in your tummy [abdomen] or thigh. You can learn to give yourself these injections but you must be trained by your Health care provider. 

WHEN CAN I TAKE THE INJECTION?

You can take the contraceptive injection at any time of your menstrual cycle as long as you are not pregnant. If the you take the injection within the first 5 days of your menstrual cycle, you are immediately protected from being pregnant. But if you take the injection on any other day of your menstrual cycle, you will have to make use of other contraceptives [pills, condoms, e.t.c]

CAN ANYONE USE CONTRACEPTIVE INJECTIONS?

Any woman can take contraceptive injections but it is not advisable to take it, if you:

  • do not want your periods to change.
  • think you are pregnant.
  • experience unexplained bleeding. For example, inbetween your periods, during or after sex.
  • want to have kids in the following year
  • have a history of heart disease, arterial disease, stroke
  • have or had breast cancer
  • are at risk of osteoporosis
  • have or had liver disease

RISKS INVOLVED IN USING CONTRACEPTIVE INJECTIONS.

All aspect of life involves risk. There are small risks of infection at the site of injection. In some cases, people have an allergic reaction to the injection.

Making use of Depo-Provera affects your natural estrogen levels which can lead to thinning of the bones but it does not make your bone break or increases the chance of you having a broken bone.

For most women, this is not a problem, because after you stop the injection, the bone replaces itself. And it does not cause any prolonged health condition. Your doctor might also recommend that you stop the injection after 2 years so it does not cause any long-term issues.

It might also take some time for your fertility to return. When you stop taking Depo-Provera, it might take up to 10 months at least before you start ovulating again.

Furthermore, Contraceptive injections do not protect you against sexually transmitted infections. It might increase your chances of getting HIV and chlamydia infection. Using condoms will reduce your chances of getting STI [sexually transmitted infection].

ADVANTAGES OF INJECTABLES                                                                                                          

The advantages of using contraceptive injections are:

  • the procedure is fast
  • painless
  • helps with the heavy menstrual cycle
  • no sex interruption as is the case with condoms
  • does not involve you taking pills every day
  • reduces menstrual cramps
  • reduces the risk of endometrial cancer
  • very safe to use while breastfeeding
  • does not have any drug-drug interaction, which means, other drugs do not affect it.

DISADVANTAGES OF INJECTABLES

They include;

  • change in the menstrual cycle, it might become irregular, lighter, heavier and stop.
  • delay fertility even after stoppage.
  • you might add weight, become bloated
  • you might experience spotting or bleeding
  • They do not prevent STIs.

SIDE EFFECTS OF CONTRACEPTIVE INJECTIONS

Common side effects you may experience are:

  • abdominal pain
  • headache
  • loss of hair
  • acne breakouts
  • decreased libido [reduced sex drive],
  • mood swings, e.t.c

Some side effects might continue as long as you take the injection.

CONCLUSION

Contraceptive injections when taken correctly are 99% effective. So whenever you get tired of 

You can discuss with your health care provider and consider using contraceptive injections.

I. O. Eriyo, MB.BS in view, certified content creator at PoliMed, licensed google writer and contributing writer at WikiMedia Foundation.

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