Potential Complications Associated with Oral Contraceptives and Long Term Use
Recent studies have revealed some concerning potential side effects and increased risks associated with the use of oral contraceptives…
A reliable, long term contraceptive method is a must for many couples who are not wishing to start or expand their family in the near future. There are a range of contraceptive methods available that are worth consideration, including physical barriers such as condoms and diaphragms, hormonal barriers such as oral contraceptives and permanent solutions such as vasectomy procedures.
When it comes to selecting a contraceptive measure, for many couples around the world the oral contraceptive method (commonly referred to as ‘The Pill’) is a highly popular choice. Worldwide, it is estimated that over 150 million women are regularly taking the pill. This form of contraceptive method involves the female partner taking daily doses of a hormones (primarily consisting of estrogen and progestogen) in order to inhibit their fertility. The system typically consists of 21 “active” pills and 7 placebo pills which are taken on a daily basis.
The active ingredients in the pill – progestogen and estrogen are also used in another popular contraceptive choice – injectable contraceptives, and this method is said to be used by over 60 million women worldwide. Injectable contraceptives are particularly prevalent in low income countries.
Some of the most common side effects associated with these forms of contraceptive methods include:
- Weight gain
- Breast tenderness or pain
- Decreased libido
- Mood changes
Whilst many women find these side effects quite manageable, there are a few other side effects that are worth closely monitoring when taking these forms of contraceptive methods. These include:
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Migraines and severe headaches
- Blurred vision
- Swelling, aching and tension of the legs and thighs
If you are currently taking the pill and experience any of these symptoms, it is best to see your GP.
While these progestogen and estrogen based contraceptive methods have proved to be both popular and effective, recent studies have also revealed a link between these forms of contraception and a number of increased health risks.
These increased health risks include:
Many recent epidemiological studies have revealed a small increase in the incidence of vascular disease amongst women who regularly take oral contraceptives. It has been noted that smoking whilst taking the contraceptive pill can increase the risk of heart disease amongst women – particularly those over the age of 30. The pill has also been linked to increased blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks, and even stroke.
Although rare, there has been some evidence that suggests a link between the oral contraceptive pill and an increased risk of fetal abnormalities such as modified development of sexual organs. At this stage, more research needs to be conducted into this field in order to establish a clear link.
A British study conducted over five years with more than 50,000 women across 26 countries has found a link between the long term use of the contraceptive pill and cervical cancer. In fact, what these researchers found was that this long term use of the pill can actually double the risk of developing cervical cancer. The good news is that this research also revealed that the risk associated with the pill and cervical cancer dramatically decreases two to three years after women cease taking the oral contraception pill and is completely eliminated after a 10 year break form the pill.
Studies have also revealed a link between the oral contraceptive pill and breast cancer. Although only a slight risk has been found by researchers, this risk increases with age.
From these findings we can see that although highly popular, for some couples the oral contraceptive pill is not an appropriate choice, and as such they may wish to explore the range of modern contraceptive options available in further detail.
For those that are exploring their contraceptive options and are looking for a long term, permanent solution, it may be worth considering a vasectomy procedure
At Metrocentre, servicing Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and the Gold Coast we provide advanced vasectomy procedures designed to alleviate the risks associated with the oral contraceptive pill and provide a permanent and reliable form of contraception for couples who do not wish to have any more children.
Using the advanced and highly successful open-ended vasectomy technique, our team offers a procedure that dramatically reduces some of the common side effects associated with traditional vasectomy procedures such as post vasectomy congestion pain disorder. Our procedures are designed to encourage a swift recovery and accommodate busy lifestyles, and as such we offer same day consults and procedures for suitable candidates.