There has been a recorded increase in the number of teenage pregnancies and an astonishing decline in the number of young people on contraceptives in Ekurhuleni.
Ekurhuleni health practitioners have attributed these worrying developments mainly to the lack of knowledge and myths associated with contraceptives, they told Germiston City News.
According to the metro’s Maternal, Child, Women and Men’s Health manager, Thembane Masina, young sexually active women who have no intentions of falling pregnant must know that contraceptives are not a one-size-fits-all remedy.
“Although there are many different types of contraception, not all types are suitable for all situations.
“The most appropriate birth control method depends on an individual’s overall health, age and desire to conceive in future,” Masina said.
The metro, through its clinics, offers a variety of birth control methods such as the popular Nur Isterate among teenagers.
However, there are other family planning methods such as long-acting reversible contraception (LARC).
The LARC, which lasts for a long time, comes in two types, namely:
• the intrauterine device (IUD), which lasts five years.
• and an implant, which lasts three years.
The other common method of contraception is hormonal contraception, which comes in the form of pills and injections.
One pill is orally taken once a day.
The clinics administer the following:
• Combined oral contraceptive pill such as Triphasil.
• Progesterone-only contraceptive pill such as Microval.
The injectable hormonal contraception offered are the following:
• Nur Isterate, given every eight weeks.
• The Depo Provera injection, given every 12 weeks.
“Young people need to start exercising their right to healthcare and visit clinics to find out more about appropriate birth control methods suited for them and not rely on their friend’s experiences, which may at times deter them from trying out other methods,” Masina said.
There are also what is called barrier methods of contraception, such as the use of condoms. Condoms for both men and women are available at the metro’s clinics.
• Emergency contraception pill (ECP)
The ECP is a pill given following unprotected sex, and is approved to be taken up to three days after unprotected sex.
For women of an average weight, the ECP is 98% effective.
For women who weigh more than 70kg, the ECP is less effective and an IUD is recommended. The IUD can be inserted up to five days after unprotected sex, and is more than 99% effective in the prevention of unwanted pregnancy.
Emergency contraception can be used to prevent pregnancy under the following circumstances:
• After unprotected sex.
• Normal contraception defective, such as a burst condom.
• Missed more than one contraceptive pill.
• Vomiting or diarrhoea while on the pill.
• Missed injection.
Every person who visits a healthcare facility has the opportunity to indicate the contraceptive of their choice.
The metro’s health practitioners have encountered myths that some contraceptives will increase appetite, lead to obesity and affect one’s mental well-being.
There is no truth in those myths.
Those who do experience unpleasant symptoms are encouraged to visit their nearest clinic for medical attention and advise.