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Articles About Health

FAMILY PLANNING:OTHER METHODS OF CONTRACEPTION

          

Quite apart from the Pill, several other methods of contraception are also available, and some of these are relatively popular.

Some women do not like the concept of the Pill, believing it has not been around for a sufficient number of years for its true probable long-term effects to be really established. They have horrible forebodings that it may cause cancer later in life, or probably in their next generation. Although there is no basis for this on today's knowledge, their views are nevertheless appreciated. But the big problem comes when they ask about alternative forms of contracep­tion.

The next most widely practiced method in the Western world is at present the intra-uterine contraceptive device, commonly referred to as the I.U.C.D. or simply I.U.D.

The concept has been around for fifty years or more, and past models, formed mainly of metals, were in use about fifty years ago. The most widely used was the Graafenberg ring, but this fell into disfavour because haemorrhages occurred as well as infections.

But with the advent of the plastics era in the late 1960s, a new form of the I.U.D. suddenly caught on. Plastic is very well tolerated by the body, which tends to shed it far less readily than other substances. Thus the current models were hatched. Some of the early devices were not very satisfactory but many modifications have since taken place. Now, smaller devices, frequently with a fine filament of copper wire wrapped around them, are used with considerable success.

In fact, they have been given the official recommendation in Australia, and most Western countries use them widely. The presence of the device, often shaped like a figure "7," has several effects. These are enhanced by the copper which gradually is shed into the uterine cavity. Not only does this kill male reproductive cells, but the device itself helps check products of conception from being embedded in the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, which happens in normal pregnancy. In short, pregnancy is prevented in many cases. If it occurs, what many claim is a miscarriage, takes place. Whatever the mechanical reason, the pregnancy rate is reduced, and protection for the woman is greatly augmented.

Some women find it a good idea to use a spermicidal cream or jelly for additional protection at the time when ovulation is due. This is when pregnancy risks are at their peak. It could give the method additional efficacy, and may be worth while in those choosing this form of protection.

It is essential that the device be very accurately and carefully fitted, preferably by a competent gynaecologist. It seems that if not placed in the exact place where it should be, its efficacy wanes considerably.

 

*42/76/5*

GENERAL HEALTH