Adherence helps Mental Health regarding College Women on Birth Control Pill
Ladies, if you’re an old fashion gal like many college women consider themselves to be, then you’re choice of birth control is limited to oral contraceptives. If you fall into such category, it typically means you care about a fulfilling sex life, yet you don’t necessarily relish the idea of making time just for dreaded needle prodding or having random equipment sitting inside of you. But with this classic choice of contraception comes a dependency upon adherence. According to an article, “Birth Control Pills,” regarding general information about this type of contraception and featured by the Healthline Editorial Team on their website, the pill is nearly ten times as effective when adhered to routinely. “The failure rate is less than 1% if taken properly and 9% if not taken daily as directed.” Women who are not sexually active yet may also choose this type of contraceptive method because its “fully reversible [and] regulate[s] the menstrual cycle.” But regardless of purpose for use, the issue of effectiveness is something all users must consider.
With the pill method, comes responsibility.
Because some routine medications can cause significant reduction in effectiveness of the pill, it’s important to provide support for yourself in using this type of contraception with every aspect you can individually influence. Some of these medications include select “antibiotics, oral yeast infection medications, HIV [and] antiseizure medicines, [and] St. John’s wort.” Symptoms that accompany a wide range of common illnesses, such as diarrhea and vomiting, can also work against pills’ effectiveness (Healthline, 2016). Since your life moves at such a fast pace, you may not recognize all the conditions that can work together serendipitously at a certain moment to favor the likelihood of an unplanned pregnancy. That’s why the simple yet often overlooked act of taking your pill at the same time every day is so imperative to maintaining that level of sanity regarding your sexual activity. It’s an aspect of your mental health that you may take for granted until you find yourself part of that inconvenient nine percent. What’s important to recognize is that adherence to your birth control is a power within your possession—and adherence makes all the difference when it comes to choosing pills over other forms of contraception.
Tomatoe, tomato…adherence empowers the pill.
Sonya Collins distinguishes the two main types of pills in an article posted on WebMD entitled, “Comparing Birth Control Pill Types.” The pill that college women, such as yourself, may be more familiar with is the combination one, which includes estrogen and progestin. While the FDA strongly advocates against combination birth control pills because it elevates “the risk of heart attacks, stroke and blood clots,” combination pills may help treat cramps, “improve acne [and] bone density in years before menopause, lower risk of ovarian and uterine cancer, [as well as] pelvic inflammatory disease (Collins, 2016), and “offer protection against bone thinning, non-cancerous breast growths, anemia, heavy periods, [and] severe menstrual cramps.” On a less serious note than FDA concerns, but similarly inconvenient, combination ones can also cause “side effects [like] nausea, decreased sex drive, bleeding between periods, [and] breast tenderness” (Healthline, 2016) because of the estrogen, according to familydoctor.org’s article, “Progestin-Only Birth Control Pills.”
The other type of pill, more common among women breast feeding (because it won’t affect production rate), women over 35 that smoke, and women who “have a history of blood clots,” also known as progestin-only or mini-pill, “might not cause” these latter side effects described (Familydoctor.org, 2016), which boosts its popularity to demographics outside its intended sphere. This might be an indication of why college women may prefer the mini-pill over combination ones. Familydoctor.org also points out the three ways in which the mini-pill prevents unplanned pregnancy. This includes making it difficult for sperm to get to the egg, making the womb inhospitable for new born growth, and triggering hormones that halt the “ovary from releasing an egg,” similar to the behavior of combination pills, except “forty percent of women will continue to ovulate” versus the majority of women who continue to ovulate with combination ones. “Timing is much more [sensitive] for the [mini-pill] than for [combination] pills” in order for it to exercise these preventive measures optimally. If not ingested within three hours of scheduled time, your risk increases for the following two days, and if neglected entirely, risk spikes for the next week—unlike combination where you’d just take a second to compensate for the past day. However, equally important to note is that “3 out of 100 women us[ing it] correctly, could still get pregnant,” which is a similar risk to combination ones (Familydoctor.org, 2016). As a side note, it’s a good idea to use a backup method, such as a condom, in the case that you oversee a dose or encounter conditions that conflict with effectiveness, regardless of the type of pill or method. Both Collins and Familydoctor.org agree that either type of pill possess a similarly strong effective measure of prevention when strictly adhered to (2016).
Making the pill even easier.
Besides physical considerations that may dictate your preference on using the pill, and which type, over other methods of contraception, some of the main advantages of this classic method are practical in nature. For instance, although you have to pick up your prescription, there’s no waiting at a clinic for a painful shot or appointment to install implants. Although you have more to be mindful of in terms of adherence with the pill, there’s no risk of site infections from shots, or skin irritations from patches, or insidious effects from foreign objects sitting inside the body. Many women who use other tangible methods of birth control, such as shots and implants, like the simplicity of having less daily reminders, and will put up with all the other disadvantages for this one benefit. But there are tools available right at your finger tips to help make that one practical inconvenience with pills—strict adherence—non-existent. You use apps to help make almost every aspect of your life easier, why should your birth control method be any exception? MedsMinders takes away the extraneous energy and stress spent on remembering your daily pill, so that you can enjoy all the advantages that this method has to offer without forfeiting your peace of mind regarding comfort and safety (which the other methods tend to be associated with). There are negatives related to pills like all the other methods, but it is much more manageable, in comparison to other methods, to keep these at a minimum with your own influence. MedsMinders is here to maximize your management, and help you maintain an orderly approach to your sexual life, so that you can focus on upholding your overall health—physically, sexually, emotionally and mentally.