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To this day, choosing the right contraceptives is not usually a topic Filipino families would talk about at the dinner table. Not everyone can have the talk with their parents, too, even privately. Often, we would rather ask our friends. However, they aren’t always right.
Choosing a contraceptive is an important decision that can affect a person’s health, relationships, and their future. It’s not something to be taken lightly. But with so many kinds of contraceptives, how do you choose what’s right for you? We asked Dr. Ana Katrina R. Siton, diplomate of Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society of the Philippines and consultant at Asian Hospital and Medical Center to help us.
Talk to your doctor about safety
The first and most important step according to Dr. Siton is to talk to a doctor. Some contraceptives have side effects and contraindications that can be harmful if you have existing illnesses and conditions. That’s why you need to disclose your full medical history so the doctor can recommend a type of contraceptive that’s safe for you.
You also need to let the doctor know what your reproductive plans are or what you need to use the contraceptive for. Do you want to prevent pregnancies? Do you want to protect yourself from sexually-transmitted infections (STIs)? Do you want to regulate your menstruation? Knowing your goals will help the doctor find the right contraceptives to match them.
Think about your reproductive plans
Ask yourself about your future reproductive plans. Do you want to prevent pregnancies only in the short term or are you in it for the long haul? There are contraceptives like male condoms, oral contraceptive pills, and injectables that can help prevent pregnancies but are reversible once you decide that you’re ready.
On the other hand, there’s female sterilization aka bilateral tubal ligation, vasectomy for men, implants, and intrauterine device (IUD) that are considered the most effective in preventing pregnancies in the long term. However, female sterilization and vasectomy are meant to be permanent and not reversible.
Consider how self-disciplined you can be
Most contraceptives require you to take regular action for the method to be effective. So when a doctor presents you with options, choose the one that you think you’ll be able to comply with religiously. For example, pills need to be taken daily during a designated time. Miss one and you already increase your risk of pregnancy. Condoms, on the other hand, need to be worn every time you have sex, so you need to have the presence of mind to use one even during the heat of the moment.
If you prefer to not be on your toes all the time, you can opt for injectables which you only need to repeat every three months, or go for female sterilization, vasectomy, and IUD which are just one-time procedures.
Decide on your budget
The other important thing you should look into is if you can afford the contraceptive enough to sustain it. As we all know now, contraceptives are only effective with regular use.
According to Dr. Siton, the most affordable options are condoms, followed by oral contraceptive pills, and injectables. IUD, which could protect you for 5 to 10 years, is expensive if the insertion is done in a private clinic; however, you can get it for free or for a minimal fee at your local health center.
Remember that choosing contraceptives is a personal and patient-centered decision as you need to primarily consider your lifestyle and medical history. It should be something that you’re comfortable with and you have talked to your trusted doctor about.
Visit trust.ph to learn more about your contraceptive options and talk to your doctor about them. – Rappler.com