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The Effects Of Birth Control Essay, Research Paper

Richard Bradford IV.

Mr. Jonathan Bishop

Birth Control Report

Tuesday March 28, 2000

The Effectiveness of Birth Control

Today?s woman has many birth control options that allow her to plan whether or not she

has children, when she has children, and the age difference between her children. This paper is

designed as an overview of available options about choosing a birth control method that matches

the physical, emotional and lifestyle needs. I personally feel that the pill is a excellent, affordable,

99.5% effective method of birth control.

According to Contraceptive Technology, combination pills are approximately 99.9 percent

effective if used perfectly. What that means is that one in 1,000 women taking the Pill will get

pregnant in the period of a year. In real-life use, about 3 percent of users get pregnant in the

course of a year Statistics state that this is ?usually due to missing one or more pills.? However,

two things that should be remembered. Statistics are not everything–the best form of birth

control is the one you will use correctly and consistently. Oral contraceptives provide no

protection from sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV. So if that is a concern, you should

combine the Pill with condoms for an unbeatable combination!

At any stage of life, a woman may find that one method of birth control suits her needs

better than others. Periodic review of available birth control options will help ensure in choose a

method that best meets your current lifestyle. Some factors to consider that might be important

include method effectiveness, permanency, convenience and protection against sexually

transmitted diseases (STDs).

Some questions that I have are, how safe and effective is the method, will the method

affect my sex drive or my partner?s sex drive, is there an age at which I should stop using

hormone-based contraceptives, will the birth control method affect my ability to have children in

the future, what are my birth control options if I am breastfeeding, what birth control method

would you recommend for me at this stage of my life, these are some common question that might

and could be asked to be answered by an health care professional.

It can be very confusing trying to figure out what these numbers mean. Contraceptive

effectiveness is usually reported as a percentage. These different effective numbers represent

success in ?women years.? So if a form of birth control is 98 percent effective, that means that,

on average, 98 out of 100 women using it for one year will not get pregnant. Occasionally,

contraceptive effectiveness is reported in terms of ?failure rates.? So in the above content, the

same form of birth control would have a 2 percent failure rate, meaning that 2 out of 100 women

using this form of birth control would get pregnant in the period of one year. You also often see

two numbers reported for each form of birth control, ideal and typical. Ideal represents the level

of effectiveness if used perfectly every time; typical rates take into account human failure. Here?s

a neat trick: you can compute the effectiveness of combining two forms of birth control by

multiplying the numbers. So for example, if you combine a condom (12 percent typical failure

rate) with spermicidal foam (21 percent typical failure rate), the failure rate plummets to 2.5


Most people think that the timing of taking the pill is important new statistics say. The

timing of when you take the pill makes little difference. The reason doctors tell women to take

the pill at the same time every day is so that they want forget. There is no need to set the clock

unless you think you will completely forget otherwise. Where you are taking one day?s pill right

before bedtime and the next day?s pill when you wake up, but a few hours will not make a

difference. The only exception to this rule is if you are on very lose dose pills and are having

problems with spotting. In those cases, varying the time at which you take the pill can increase

spotting, but it won?t decrease effectiveness no matter what.

What most doctor?s recommend is that you try to associate taking your birth control pills

with an activity you do every day. For example, brush your teeth in the morning, or with

breakfast. But, if you do these activities at a different time some days, you really don?t need to


For some users the pill can have undesirable and sometimes serious side effects such as

weight gain, nausea, hypertension, or the formation of blood clots or noncancerous liver tumors.

The risk of such effects increases for women above the age of 35 who smoke. Pills are obtainable

only by prescription and after a review of a woman?s medical history and check of her physical


In 1991 the FDA approved the use of the norplant, a long-lasting contraceptive that is

implanted under the skin on the inside of a woman?s under arm. The implant consists of six

matchstick-size flexible tubes that contain a synthetic hormone called progestin. Released slowly

and steadily over a five-year period, this drug inhibits ovulation and thickens cervical mucus,

preventing sperm from reaching eggs. The FDA approved the use of Depo-Provera in 1992.

This injectable contraceptive contains a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone and is

given four times a year.

When conception is not desired, the time to avoid sex is about midway a woman?s

menstrual cycle; this was not discovered until the 1930?s, when studies established that an egg is

released (ovulation) from an ovary about once a month, usually about 14 days before the next

menstrual flow. Conception may occur if the egg is fertilized during the next 24 hours or so of if

intercourse happens a day or two before or after the egg is released, because live sperm can be

present. Therefore, the days just before, during, and immediately following ovulation are

considered unsafe to have unprotected intercourse; other days in the cycle are considered safe.

Birth control based on calendar records of menstrual cycles, known as the rhythm method,

has proved unreliable, because cycles may vary due to fatigue, illness, or physical or emotional

stress. However, the time of ovulation, and therefore when to avoid intercourse, can be

determined by observing a number of physical changes. A woman?s body temperature rises

slightly during ovulation and remains high until just before the next flow is heavier. As the

quantity of mucus is reduced, it becomes cloudy and viscous and may disappear. These signals

indicate the approximate time of ovulation and have led to a method of birth control called natural

family planning. The avoidance of intercourse around ovulation is the only birth control method

approved by the FDA.

Birth Control, or limiting reproduction, has become an major importance in the

contemporary world because of the problems posed by population growth. Until relatively

recently most cultures encouraged such growth. The increasing at a faster rate than its means of

support, but 19th-century reformers who in response advocated birth control met bitter

opposition from physicians.

Infection with the HIV virus is a greater threat to the health of many sexually active

individuals than is an unplanned pregnancy. Pills provide no known protection against HIV

infection. Condoms should be used instead of or in addition to pills if protection against HIV is

desired in an intimate sexual relationship. Abstinence and a long-term mutually faithful

relationship are the safest approaches to avoiding HIV infections transmitted by intercourse.

Some disadvantages and cautions with taking any kind of birth control is. Pills must be

taken daily, expense, unwanted menstrual cycle chages, nausea or vomiting, headaches,

depression, decreased libido, cervical ectopia and chlamydia infection, other infections possibly,

thrombophlebitis, pulmonary emboli; and other cardiovascular disease, glucose intolerance,

gallbladder disease, hepatocellular adenomas, cancer, other side effects, estrogenic effects,

progestogenic effects, and androgenic effects.

Taking pills is complicated, and compliance is poor for many individuals. Pills must be

taken ever day. When pill use is inconsistent or incorrect, failure rates rise to high levels. The

high cost of pill in many pharmacies may prompt some women to discontinue pills. Pills may be

associated with menstrual changes including missed periods, very scanty bleeding, spotting, or

breakthrough bleeding. Nausea may occur in the first cycle or so of pill use or, less commonly, in

subsequent cycles. Headaches may start in a woman who has not previously had headaches or

may become worse than they were before starting pills. Rarely, changes in vision accompany

these headaches.

Depression (sometimes severe) and other mood changes may occur in women on pills.

Some women experience a decreased interest in sex or a decreased ability to have orgasms.

Decreased libido may be due to decreased levels of free testosterone caused by oral

contraceptives. Chlamydial cervicitis is more common in women on pills. Pill can cause cervical

ectopia, a condition in which part of the cervical surface near the opening of the canal becomes

covered by the delicate mucus-secreting columnar cells that normally line the cervical canal. With

an ectopion, the cervix of the pill user is more vulnerable to chlamydia trachomatis infection,

although no evidence exists that this increased risk places women using OCs at greater risk for

pelvic inflammatory disease (salpingitis).

Although urinary tractinfections occurred at an increased rate in women using pills in the

Royal college of General Practitioners Study, this link was not found in the oxford/FPA Study.

Women using pills tend to have intercourse more frequently and it is difficult to know if infections

are due to intercourse-induced cystitis or to effects of pills. Other early studies found that women

using pills appeared to have a slightly higher incidence of bronchitis, viral illness such as

chickenpox, cervical ectopion, or vaginal discharges.

Sterilization, If you are certain that you do not want children in the future, sterilization

offers a safe and effective method of birth control. Male sterilization is 99.9% effective; female

sterilization is 99.6% effective. Has no effect on the production of sex hormones in men or

women. Men will continue to produce sperm-free seminal fluid during intercourse and women

will continue to menstruate. The procedure takes about 20 minutes for men and one hour for

women. Depending upon the patient, a general or local anesthetic is used. Considered

permanent. Surgery to reverse the procedure is available, but is costly, is considered major and

results are not guaranteed. These above are reason that make the effectiveness of birth control a

very arguementive concept.


no bibliography needed for this report


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