The side effects of birth control pills worry many women. Are other contraceptives more popular now?
The birth control pill has now been on the market for 60 years. While the preparation was considered a sensation when it was created, after all, it was the first hormonal remedy against conception, it is now increasingly criticized. Because the intake of hormones has certain side effects. Many women no longer want to accept that. What are the alternatives? Dr. med. Dorothee Struck, gynecologist and author of "Contraception without hormones", gives information in an interview with the news agency spot on news.
Many women worry about the hormones and their side effects when taking the pill. Is this concern justified?
Dr. med. Dorothee Struck: The pill is a drug and can have side effects. Depending on the number of doses taken daily, the rate of serious side effects such as strokes is low. Other side effects that women experience while taking the pill, such as frequent genitourinary infections or depressed mood, can be avoided by switching to another method of contraception.
Which side effects are the most common?
Struck: There are women who take synthetic hormones to gain weight, but that is only a few percent of those who use them. Most women do not gain weight from today's low dose pills. However, some women react to hormonal changes with an increased appetite, some store one to two kilos of water, so switching to a pill with a different composition often helps.
Migraines and headaches are actually common problems that either get worse from the pill or come with the pill. If you have migraines during the pill break, you should either switch to an estrogen-free pill without taking a break or use hormone-free contraception. Many women with frequent headaches are happy when they switch to hormone-free contraception.
Which alternatives to the pill are now being used more and more?
Struck: Due to their small size, copper chains or certain spirals are also suitable for women who have not yet given birth. Natural family planning in a safe form, such as Sensiplan with thermometer and body observation, is an excellent method of contraception that also imparts a lot of knowledge about one's own body. Good quality condoms are available everywhere and the diaphragm is also experiencing a small renaissance.
In our practice, copper-based intrauterine contraceptives such as IUDs, copper chains and balls are in great demand. Information about safe forms of natural family planning comes second. The diaphragm is rarely desired by women. Unfortunately! From my point of view, an underused method of contraception.
Is the pill still in demand today?
Struck: Anyone who uses social media has got the impression in the last few months that the pill is now completely out, but the demand in practice has not changed that much. However, women now often ask specifically for products with a low risk of thrombosis or for estrogen-free products. The pill is viewed more critically, but has not yet played its role as a safe contraceptive.
It is more women in their mid-20s who have taken the pill for a few years who want an alternative and who want to stop it. I always give a clear message: The pill will be discontinued if either another acceptable method of contraception has been found or if there is a desire to have children. Unfortunately, weaning and having no alternative often leads to unplanned pregnancies.
One often hears of women who got pregnant despite taking the pill. How can this happen?
Struck: The pill has a good methodological security, that is, a good security, if there are no disturbing factors such as forgetfulness, vomiting, diarrhea or combined intake with other medication. The most common reason for tro-pis (babies despite the pill) is surely forgetfulness, although research has recently shown evidence that some women break down the pill and other drugs more quickly through the liver than most.
What are currently the most popular contraceptives?
Struck: With over 50 percent of women, the pill in its various compositions is still way ahead. There are also some who use the pill not only for contraception, but for the treatment of health problems such as endometriosis or excessive menstrual bleeding. Condoms come right after that, followed by spirals at some distance.