Of all the scientific advancements, effective contraception is arguably the one that has been eminent in making women equal partners in society. It has also given men and women unprecedented control over such major life considerations as when and how families are created and reared.
One of the most successful means of contraception is the injectable contraceptive. This method of birth control involves synthetic hormones that are administered by a deep intra-muscular injection. These injections are considered to be a secure technique of reversible contraception for most women. There is availability of two types of injectable contraceptives. These are progestin-only contraceptives and combined contraceptives that contain both progestin and estrogen hormones. The progestin-only injections contain DMPA, which stands for depot medroxyprogesterone acetate. The administered dosage is 150 mg IM every three months. The injection should be given within the first five days of the onset of menses. If given beyond this time, it is advisable to use an alternate birth control method for two to four weeks.
The DMPA contraceptives prevent pregnancy by inhibiting the process of ovulation, which signifies the release of the eggs by the ovaries. They also thicken the cervical mucus, thus making it difficult for the sperms to pass through. This process also decreases the motility of the fallopian tubes. If found satisfactory, these injections can be used by women throughout their reproductive years. However, this method is recommended for females above the age of 16 because of the theoretical concern about its repercussion on bone density.
Similar to any other technique of birth control, the DMPA contraceptives also have their advantages and disadvantages. First, a look at the advantages. This method is hassle free and effective. It has been used by over 90 million women and is reported to be as effective as sterilization. One injection can prevent pregnancy for 3 months. Secondly, it offers no hindrance to normal sexual life and can be made use of at any stage. Thirdly, it is extremely safe and can be even used by nursing mothers as early as six weeks after childbirth. Also, there is probably no increase in congenital abnormalities when contraception failure occurs. Fourthly, there are no side effects related to estrogen, which involve the risk of heart attack. Fifthly, it shields the body from ovarian and endometrial cancer and uterine fibroids. Lastly, it is reversible and one can plan a family after a gap of three to six months on stopping the usage.
The disadvantages include alteration in menstrual bleeding, which implies light spotting or heavy bleeding in the beginning. Amenorrhea is a normal effect especially after the first year of use. These injections may result in a few extra pounds as well. The weight gain could be to the proportion of 2 to 4 lbs. each year. However, diet restrictions could be helpful in such cases. There could be symptoms of headache, breast tenderness, moodiness, nausea, hair loss, less sex drive or acne in some women. One of the biggest disadvantages is that this method does not safeguard from sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and AIDS.
All techniques of contraception have side effects. One just has to weigh the pros and cons and make the best choice suitable to ensure a carefree living.