Rabu, 02 Januari 2008
should i use contraception . doc?..can i still get pregnant....?
Frequently asked questions on contraception
Written by Dr David Delvin, GP and family planning specialist
© NetDoctor/Geir - FAQs on contraception
Only use condoms that carry the European CE mark or the BSI Kitemark BS EN 600.
A lot of the emails we receive about contraception are from people who are too embarrassed to raise their questions with their GPs. Here, I present a sample of the most common queries - beginning with some that arrive regularly from younger people.
My mates say that condoms are dangerous to use, because they break. Are they right?
No. Condoms do break occasionally, but this is unlikely if you handle them gently, and don’t snag them with your fingernails or jewellery.
It’s recently become clear that a lot of females who ask for the morning after pill say the condom broke - because they don’t want to admit that they didn’t use one.
This has helped to give condoms a false reputation for breaking.
Even if one in a thousand condoms breaks, that’s still far, far better than the risks of not using one at all.
Is it true that you can’t get pregnant the first time you do it?
This is a dangerous myth that has been responsible for a lot of unwanted pregnancies.
You can get pregnant the first time you have sex, and it has happened to many, many young women.
You might get away with it, because the chance of getting pregnant from a single act of sex is around one in 20. But it really isn’t worth taking the risk.
If you’re going to do it, use a reliable method of contraception.
A friend has told me that you can’t get pregnant if you do it standing up. Is there any truth in this?
None whatsoever. You can get pregnant in any position.
My boyfriend says we don’t need contraception, because he will pull out at the last minute. Is this a good idea?
Not really. ‘Withdrawal', or coitus interruptus as it’s known, is not a good way to avoid pregnancy – partly because boys leak sperm before they come
I have heard that women can only get pregnant during a certain part of the menstrual cycle. Could my partner and I have unprotected sex if we avoid these ‘dangerous’ times of the month?
I really wouldn’t advise this, particularly if you don’t know much about what you’re doing.
It is true that women are usually at their most fertile during the middle part of their cycle. This is about 12 to 14 days after the start of a period.
Women are generally at their least fertile just before menstruation, during menstruation, and just after menstruation.
But it's still possible to fall pregnant and your monthly cycle can change. Frankly, it’s a gamble.
If you want to use the rhythm method or natural family planning, as it's known, seek advice from an experienced health professional.
I am thinking of trying the Pill, but my mother says it’s dangerous for younger women.
I’m afraid she has this the wrong way round. The risks of the Pill aren’t all that big, but they’re much greater in older women.
In the age group 16 to 30, the danger of serious side-effects from the Pill is very small – unless you are a smoker or have other risk factors such as a history of thrombosis (clots), or a family history of relatives who had heart attacks or strokes at an early age.
You will be asked about these things when you first go to a doc to obtain the Pill. She will also check your blood pressure – because a raised BP does increase the risk of complications from the Pill.
Does the Pill turn women off sex?
No, this is largely a fantasy. Most women become more keen on sex because they know the Pill is giving them excellent protection against unwanted pregnancy.
A very small number of women say the Pill reduces their libido.
If you find this is the case, it’s always worth changing to another of the 22 brands that are available in the UK.
What methods of contraception are reliable?
There are 12 methods of contraception that you can regard as highly dependable.
o The Pill.
o The mini-Pill.
o The patch (Evra).
o The IUD (the coil).
o The IUS (Mirena).
o The injection.
o The implant.
o The condom.
o The diaphragm and the cap.
o Vasectomy (male sterilisation).
o Female sterilisation.
o Natural family planning if taught by a properly qualified professional.
All these methods do carry a small failure rate – nothing is 100 per cent effective. But each of these options is an awful lot better than just crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.
What about spermicides? Are they effective?
Spermicidal creams, foams, pessaries and sponges are no longer considered effective enough on their own.
What is the best method of contraception?
Quite a few couples come into my clinic asking this question, but there isn't a best method of family planning. What matters is what works for you.
Different things suit different people. If it’s any help, the two most popular methods in the UK are the Pill and male condom.
Vasectomy and female sterilisation are popular with people who don’t want any more children, but they have become more difficult to obtain free under the cash-strapped NHS.
A lot of people now get these operations from contraception charities such as Marie Stopes (£990 for female sterilisation, £395 for vasectomy).
What about new forms of contraception? Are they likely?
It is probable that new methods of contraception such as the vaginal ring will soon become available. However, the much hyped ‘male Pill’ is unlikely to be on the market within the next few years.
If you've more questions, talk to a nurse or doctor who’s been specially trained in contraception – eg at a family planning clinic, Brook Advisory Centre for young people or GP surgery.