The Use of Contraceptive: a Yay or Nay

Contraception is a way or method to prevent pregnancy and this has been made possible by the invention and use of contraceptives.

A contraceptive implant also known as a birth control implant is an implantable medical tool. They are of many types and forms. And people take into consideration such things as how efficient they are and how easy their administration is. Or how often they are taken, among other things, when picking a method of contraception suitable for their use. 

Contraceptives include short-term or long-acting methods ranging from pills to implants, which are seen as the best methods of birth control.

Some short-term methods include pills, diaphragms, contraceptive rings, external male condoms, internal female condoms, cervical caps, and spermicides. While long-acting contraceptives are majorly contraceptive implants. 

The art of contraception is not a new concept, but one that has been here for a long time. Contraceptives can be used by both men and women and each method has its own pros and cons. However, it is important to seek professional medical attention before you adopt any one of these methods. Even though some methods, like condoms, do not require medical assistance because they are easily used.

Use of contraceptives

Aside from preventing pregnancy, contraceptives also do their fair share of regulating the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. The most common mode of contraception used for this is the condom. It is used by almost half of the world’s population to prevent pregnancy. Which makes it the most commonly used form of contraception.

Second on the hierarchy of most commonly used contraceptives are contraceptive pills, commonly referred to as “the pill”. They are pills used by women that are administered for a specific period of time during their active sexual lives.

Intrauterine Device (IUD) and it types

For the purpose of this discourse, we are paying particular attention to the Intrauterine Device commonly known as “IUD”. 

These are small devices that are inserted into the uterus by a doctor, they can be effective for 2 to 10 years depending on the type in use. They are more effective in preventing pregnancy, and can be removed at any time the woman decides she is ready to get pregnant. 

There are two main types of implants;

  • The copper IUDs 
  • The hormonal IUDs

Copper IUD

The copper IUDs are reversible and are one of the most effective patterns of contraception. They release copper ions that prevent sperm from reaching the egg in the woman’s body. 

It is a T-shaped construction with a rubber finish at the ends of the T and has a size of about 32mm (about 1.26 inches). Its high effectiveness can be attributed to the fact that it does not depend on user action. And the user can eat and do as many activities as she so wishes without any fear of disrupting the contraceptive power. 

However, the effectiveness of a copper IUD is determined by the amount of copper it contains. The Copper IUD is also used as a form of emergency contraceptive however it must be inserted within 3 days from sexual intercourse. This kind of IUD does not provide any sort of protection against STIs. It simply acts as a way of blocking sperm from fertilizing the eggs. It can be inserted at any phase of one’s menstrual cycle.

Particularly this insertion is targeted when the cervix is the softest and when the woman is the least likely to get pregnant. This insertion roughly takes up to 3-5 minutes. Before that, the patient is duly tested for infections to avoid complications or inflammatory disease. This procedure is seemingly painful for some women. 

The removal process is just as simple as the insertion which is the reason it is termed reversible. Such removal should be carried out by a medical practitioner and after it is done, the fertility will return to its previous state. 

There are several IUDs in the world and in use today, but they all have the T-shape build and some are even frameless. The two most popular brands of IUDs are the ParaGard and Liletta, others are Mirena, Kyleena, and Skyla.

There may be side effects accompanied by the use of the IUD. Which includes an increase in amounts of vaginal discharge, serious pain or cramps, post-coital spotting, etc. And sometimes expulsion may take place. 

Shifting of the IUD may occur. Sometimes in the years of use, the IUD shifts from the position it was inserted to another and if it is not properly replaced it can lead to injuries in some cases. It is therefore on the medical practitioner performing the procedure to ensure that the equipment used in this insertion is properly inserted. Hence reducing the risk of shifting. 

As a result of the insertion of the copper IUD, chlamydia and pelvic inflammatory disease commonly occur, and if there are also other diseases that had not been properly treated. The process may increase the chances of these infections. To ensure this does not occur, proper medical hygiene should be observed. And all the test and screening procedures required before the insertion of the IUD should be duly observed.

Another major side effect is cramping, women might feel slight or heavy cramps depending on the sensitiveness of the cervix. This cramping is because of the dilation of the cervix and it continues in many women for up to 3 weeks after the insertion. So painkillers are advised to be given to the patient before and after the procedure. Painkillers should be administered 5 –12 hours before the insertion. 

Many women also experience spotting and irregular bleeding. This usually occurs between the first five months of the insertion. 

This type of IUD is not for every woman. If a woman has uterine or cervical cancer, any form of STI or STD or any pelvic infection, she is advised not to get the implant. 

Hormonal IUD

The hormonal IUD is another contraceptive implant but these release hormonal agents inside the uterus. This device is positioned in the uterus and lasts for two to seven years, eight years being the maximum. It is also reversible as fertility returns when the device is removed. It is one of the most effective methods of birth control with a very low failure rate. Just like the copper IUD, it is T shaped but also comes in a U-shape.

There is not much difference between the copper and the hormonal IUD as to how they are inserted and removed. However this IUD contains progestogen which disrupts the hormone cycle and works by thickening the mucus at the entrance of the cervix. Effectively stopping the lining of the uterus and it also prevents ovulation. The hormonal IUD has a plethora of advantages asides from the prevention of pregnancy. Although it does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

It reduces heavy menstrual periods, endometriosis, anemia, and chronic pelvic pain. If there is a need for a hysterectomy, the patient might not need one and it can be used while still breastfeeding. It is a long-acting contraceptive in use for almost a decade and considered one of the most effective methods of all contraceptive implants because it does not require much attention after insertion whilst others need frequent checkups.

The downsides are irregular periods and spotting between periods which often occurs after insertion and after sex. But this reduces within two to four months. 

The patient may experience severe discomfort like cramps, pelvic pain due to the insertion process, nausea, acne, decreased libido, edema, and bacterial vaginosis are also effects that the patient might encounter. 

In rare cases of a lost coil, a medical practitioner should be contacted immediately. It usually occurs when the woman cannot find the string which is referred to as a lost coil. Then thread collector devices are used to retrieve the string.

Another type of hormonal IUD birth control implant is also administered but it is not inserted inside the cervix, but rather implanted on your arm. This take the shape of a small flexible rod that is inserted in the skin of the upper arm and release hormones that prevent pregnancy. They are effective for up to three years and longer. These implants are very effective and have a failure rate below 1%. They release the hormone progestin into your bloodstream.

This implant steadily releases the progestin hormone slowly into the body. The hormone, progestin prevents the ovary from releasing egg by thickening the mucus surrounding. Making it hard for sperm to fertilize any egg in cases where ovulation happens. This method is inserted by the medical practitioner by numbing the area of insertion and with a special device which is needle-like is inserted. This may take a few minutes. No stitches are needed however if a bruise should start forming a plaster or bandage should be placed on top.

Removing this implant is as easy as it is done, the medical practitioner will make a cut on your arm and with tweezers carefully bring out the implant. Little to no stitches are needed.

Contraceptive implants seem like the next generation method of birth control. While pills and condoms are safe ways, these are also in the market. But the reason why the popularity is not widespread even though they have been in existence since 1991, is due to the downsides they come with. This frightens a lot of women. It is already established that constant taking of post-pill can lead to medical natal disadvantages in women. These other methods exist for women who want to go long term without constantly taking the pill.

These methods seem like a win because you just place the implants and then take them right out later restoring the system to its former state. Although some of the disadvantages include other problems. Which is why the simple rules exist and why they are not to be used by specific people to avoid unnecessary complications.

In a personal light, I feel these implants should be given an opportunity to be in use because they are a lot of nay says towards it. It is new (not entirely) to the majority of the public and they are not expected to be welcomed easily. But if this is part of the future medicine then we all better come on board. With that being said it is a yay for me.

What is yours, a yay or a nay?

Tarinabo Diete

Tarinabo Diete is a Nigerian creative. As a bespoke fashion designer, voice over artist and writer, her legacy speaks about being a young African creative, and the struggles of the various industries. She is also a Volounteer and a student of law . She stands between the crossroads of storytelling,education, and art of bespoke fashion .When she’s not trying to survive school She tells stories about the places she’s been, the people she’s met and shows how she sees the world through her ink.