Contraceptive give women the freedom to decide and plan motherhood according to their choice. Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or a young mother who wants to time her pregnancies, birth control measures can be saviors. The best part is that you need not depend on your partner for contraception. Not to mention, there are plenty of options to explore in birth control.
According to a women’s health survey, six in ten American women of reproductive age agree that it is important to avoid pregnancy in the next month. Additionally, 72% of females use multiple birth control methods in their lifetime. On average, they use 3.4 different methods. Those numbers show how conscious women are about pregnancy planning.
When it comes to birth control methods, you can expect to be spoiled for choice. From birth control pills to intrauterine devices, female condoms, spermicides, and sterilization, most contraceptive methods have impressive success rates. Conversely, they also accompany some risk factors you should know inside out before adopting them for long-term use.
Here is a comprehensive guide on the risks of popular birth control methods.
Table of Contents
Birth Control Pills
Statistics validate that the birth control pill is the most common contraception method in the US, with 25% of women aged 15 to 44 currently relying on it. These hormonal pills are 99% effective, provided you use them properly and consistently. However, the success rate is 91% because women tend to miss out on pills or fail to follow instructions.
Although the pill is safe and effective, side effects like bloating, headaches, and sore breasts are possible. The bigger risk is that of blood clots in overweight/obese women using combined contraceptives. There is evidence that birth control pills may elevate the risk of hypertension. If a clot enters the lungs, serious damage must ensue. Women must consult a doctor to weigh the risks and benefits of the method.
Intrauterine Device (IUD)
IUDs are among the most popular ways of birth control because you can set and forget about them. The device can stay in your uterus for 3- 8 years, providing dependable protection. The failure rate of IUDs is as low as 0.1-0.4%. With an IUD in place, you experience ultimate freedom from unplanned pregnancies without stressing about adherence.
Despite the plus points, the method comes with ample safety risks. With the Paragard lawsuit gaining attention in recent years, the awareness regarding these risks is increasing. Teva Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of the Paragard IUD, has faced flak for the design flaw. The device has been found to fracture or break during removal, leading to severe injuries that require surgical intervention.
According to TorHoerman Law, women sustaining such injuries can file a compensation claim against the manufacturer. The claim covers the cost of medical treatment (including surgical procedures), emotional suffering, and damages.
The diaphragm is a barrier contraceptive method that prevents pregnancy by stopping the sperm from reaching the uterus by blocking the cervix. The method is 94% effective when used along with a spermicide. It means you may miss out on birth control if you do not use the method properly.
Vaginal irritation and urinary tract infections (UTIs) are linked to this contraceptive method. Silicone sensitivity or a reaction to the spermicide can cause these safety risks. A bigger threat is the toxic shock syndrome (TSS). The condition affects 2.4 users in every 100,000 but happens on leaving the device in for more than 24 hours.
Sterilization is the long-term birth control solution preferred by 35 to 44-year-olds and women with three or more births. Since this method involves tubal ligation, it is irreversible and prevents birth once done. Women must be sure about the decision before proceeding with it because there is no way back (unless you are willing to get surgical reversal).
Besides the surgical risks such as slow wound healing and reaction to anesthesia, there is a rare chance of an ectopic pregnancy in women opting for tubal sterilization. But the incidence is low enough to ensure that the benefits of the procedure far surpass its risks.
The Bottom Line
Planned pregnancy makes life easy for women, and contraception makes it possible. But you must weigh the risks and benefits of each birth control method before choosing an ideal one that works for you. Consulting your gynecologist is the best way to decide because they can recommend an apt method according to your needs and expectations. They can also educate you about the potential safety risks and suggest ways to deal with them.