By Jana Abelovska
Do you think consulting a doctor is important before using a particular contraceptive?
Did you ask a doctor’s advice before you started using the contraceptives you are on taking right now?
Who do you think benefits more from seeking professional medical advice, you or the practitioner?
The truth is that opting to use different types of contraceptives without taking a doctor’s advice can pose severe health risks.
The health risks vary to each person depending on your overall health condition and medical history. Different women suffer from different medical problems that can be further complicated by the use of certain contraceptives changing their hormones.
A visit to your GP to look at different options of contraceptives can save you from numerous health problems and complications that come due to the use of wrong contraceptives. Also you may find something perfect for yourself that you didn’t know existed. Most people are unaware of scientific advancement in medicine.
Ginny Ehrlich, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, while talking about a research done on the awareness of the different kinds of contraception available and in particular the benefits of IUDs (Intrauterine Device) said:
“We believe strongly that every woman should be able to choose the method of contraception she thinks is best for her, and so while (the IUD and implant) are incredibly reliable and effective, they may not be for everyone.”
Ehrlich mentions ‘...they may not be for everyone” highlighting it is important for women to seek a doctor’s advice to get the most suitable contraceptive prescribed, as even the most popular or reliable contraception may potentially have adverse health effects for some.
Reason for Not Seeking the Doctor’s Advice
There are two major reasons why women fail or resist taking the doctor’s advice when selecting a contraceptive.
- Lack of Awareness
This has to be the first and the most common one, of course. A number of studies conducting on this topic have found that a lot of young to middle-aged women are not aware of the contraception methods available today. While birth control pills and condoms are pretty popular, bigger and better things such as IUDs are still alienated from most.
A research done by the Urban Institute which involved a survey of 800 women showed that around 69% of women were not aware of all contraceptive available in the market. This study called “Knowledge Gap and Misinformation about Birth Control Methods Persist in 2016”, concluded that amongst those aware of these methods,90% of women aged 18 to 44 were very aware of the condoms and 86% knew about the pill; however, only 31% said they are familiar with methods such as IUDs and implants. This clearly shows that the lack of awareness is prevalent and it goes to show that a simple visit to your doctor will no doubt reduce the lack of this awareness.
Getting contraceptives prescribed is a simple process. However, a lot of women tend to resist it because of embarrassment and shyness. Women dread the idea of going to the doctor and telling them about preferring to use contraceptives. Some just resist it because it has to do with their sex lives which they want to keep private. The rest hesitate because there might be a need for a prior physical examination before they can get a contraceptive prescribed and they are simply feeling uncomfortable to do so!
Remember, if you are a young woman and have decided to use contraceptives, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, it is good that you thought of protecting yourself and did proper family planning.
If you are amongst those who fail to take the doctor’s advice for choosing a contraceptive because you are unsure what to expect from such visits, here’s all you need to know.
What to Expect from the Doctor’s Visit
- Who will I see?
A doctor or a knowledgeable nurse at the hospital or clinic you visit.
- What will they ask me about?
The nurse or the doctor you see will ask you questions covering three areas:
- Your overall health
- Your sex life and sexual activities
- The use of contraceptives
- What about my overall health will they ask?
When talking about your overall health condition, the GP may ask you about the following:
- Any medication you are on
- Any past surgeries/procedures you have undergone
- About your medical history
- Check your height, weight and blood pressure (taken on the spot to see any significant changes and also a starting point before you take anything an see if they change after)
- How the menstrual cycle affects you: intensity of pain, bleeding...
- Contraceptives that you have used in the past or are using
- Past pregnancies/miscarriages/abortions
- Your habits such as smoking and drinking
The answers you give will help the doctor to prescribe a best-suited contraceptive. They will also guide you about the contraception methods you should not be using.
- How do I ascertain confidentiality/privacy?
This is a question that worries women the most. Confidentiality is very important for all of us and rest assured that all clinics and health experts have a moral and legal duty to keep client information confidential, especially within the UK. If your medical records are requested by an employer or life insurance company etc, you will be asked for your consent before this is shared.
Confidentiality is not an issue when it comes to taking a doctor’s advice regarding contraceptives; it’s your right and the doctor’s foremost duty to guarantee it.
If you are using contraceptives or thinking to start using them and wish to speak to a health professional, we strongly recommend you visit your G.P. You may also give Click Pharmacy a call and speak to one of our medical professionals who will be happy to discuss your query with you.