The shot versus  the pill dilemma!

The shot versus the pill dilemma!

Most ladies of child-bearing age often find themselves in this dilemma when it comes to choice of birth control, torn between oral contraceptive pills and injection.
But how does one decide? Let’s look at a few important points that might help you decide.

Having a shot of contraceptive hormones can be a more reliable way of preventing pregnancy than using a pill, as the user does not have to remember to take it at the same time every day.
The advantage of the shot is that you do not have to take it every day, but you do have to remember to have another shot every three months in the case of Depo Provera injection and every two months in the case of Nuristrate.

The injection is more than 99 percent effective when used correctly. This makes it more reliable than oral contraception.
However, being hormonal this method of birth control can also have adverse effects.

Key points to note:
• Both the injection and the pill users are at increased risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). These two only prevent pregnancy not STIs, hence the woman must understand that she is ONLY protected against pregnancy not HIV and all other sexually transmitted diseases!
• Anyone who has had breast cancer is advised to not to use the injection.

Some of the shot’s (the Injection’s) side effects are similar to those of the birth control pill:
– Oral contraceptives have been associated with cardiovascular problems.
– Some studies have linked the shot with thrombosis, or blood clotting.
– The use of the injection might be discouraged in people with a history of heart diseases, diabetes, or stroke.

Possible adverse effects that should be reported to a doctor are as below:
• Depression
• Migraine
• Vaginal bleeding that is heavier or lasts longer than usual
• Yellowing of the skin and eyes
• Pus and pain around the injection site

Other effects that tend to pass within a few months include:
Abdominal pain and bloating, decreased libido, dizziness, nervousness, weakness and fatigue, weight gain.
Depo-Provera has also been linked to a loss of bone mineral density increasing the risk for osteoporosis and bone fracture in later life.

Trying for a baby after stopping the injection:
It is of paramount importance to note that after stopping Depo Provera injection, it can
take up to 10 months or more to conceive. Nuristrate is better than Depo in this regard.

Weight control: it is vital for women to understand that whether it’s an injection or the pill, these are hormones and weight control might be a challenge, you might gain a few kilogrammes despite being on special diets! Take it easy and don’t be too hard on yourself!

Retšelisitsoe Nkhahle is a Mosotho pharmacist based in Botswana. She is pursuing an Msc. in pharmacy.

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