EXPLORING MODERN CONTRACEPTION METHODS IN MALAYSIA: PILL, PATCH, AND BEYOND
Posted on: October 20, 2023
Modern contraception plays an important role in family planning and preventing unwanted pregnancies. However, the use of modern contraception is relatively low in Malaysia at only 34.3%.1
Family planning involves making thoughtful decisions about when and if to expand your family. Without contraceptives, such as birth control pills, condoms, IUDs, contraceptive patches, and rings, you can increase the risk of unintended pregnancies. Therefore, it is essential to educate yourself about various methods of contraception to make informed choices regarding family planning.
There are many contraception methods available in Malaysia. Understanding the pros and cons of each method can help you identify one that is suitable for you and your partner.
The Contraceptive Pill
Contraceptive pills, also known as birth control pills, are pills containing hormones that help to regulate menstruation and prevent pregnancy. Among the various types of contraceptive pills, one of the most widely used is the combined oral contraceptive pill (COC).
The combined oral contraceptive pill, or COC contains a combination of two hormones, estrogen and progestin. These hormones work together to prevent pregnancy by suppressing ovulation, thickening cervical mucus, and altering the uterine lining. When taken consistently on a daily basis, the COC pills have a high efficacy rate up to 99%, making them a popular contraceptive method in Malaysia.2
Benefits of Combined Contraceptive Pills
In addition to its high efficacy, COC pills also offer other benefits, namely:2
- Makes periods more regular and less painful
- Reduces hormonal acne
- Relieves PMS symptoms
- Reduces risk of certain cancer such as colon and endometrial cancer.
Potential Side Effects of Combined Contraceptive Pills
While COC pills provide a variety of benefits, they may also cause side effects including:
- Spotting between periods
- Sore breasts
However, most side effects tend to go away after 2 or 3 months.3 If the side effects persist, consult your healthcare professionals about switching to a different birth control pill.
The Contraceptive Patch
A contraceptive patch is a small patch that you stick onto your skin to prevent pregnancies. The patch works by releasing the hormones estrogen and progestin into your body through the skin.
While the pill is taken daily, the patch is changed on a weekly basis. Just like the pill, contraceptive patches can have side effects such as skin irritation, nausea, and headaches.4
Other Contraceptive Methods
In addition to contraceptive pills and patches, other methods of contraception are also available in Malaysia such as:
- Condoms. In addition to preventing pregnancies, condoms have the added benefit of preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).5 However, proper storage and usage of condoms is key in ensuring its effectiveness.
- Contraceptive rings. This small plastic ring is placed inside the vagina and releases the hormones estrogen and progestogen into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy. Each ring provides contraceptive protection for a month.6 You can insert and remove the ring yourself.
- Contraceptive implants. This small plastic rod is inserted under the skin of the upper arm by a medical professional. It releases the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream to prevent pregnancies.7 It’s a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC), that lasts for 3 years.8
- Intrauterine contraceptive device (IUDs). This is another LARC contraception that lasts for 5 to 10 years. An IUD is a small T-shaped device that’s inserted into the uterus by a medical professional. Copper IUDs create a toxic environment for the sperm and it also works to prevent implantation of fertilized eggs. Hormonal IUDs release the hormone progestogen, both of which work to prevent pregnancies.9
The Impact and Perception of Modern Contraception on Women's Health
Modern contraception such as contraceptive pills have made family planning easier for couples in Malaysia, allowing them to better manage family size and household finances.
They have also had a positive effect on women’s health. Contraceptive pills and patches offer the additional benefit of reducing menstrual pain and lowering the risk of certain types of cancer.
However, contraception is a topic that many people shy away from as it is often considered taboo. The rise of social media has played an important role in increasing awareness about the various contraceptives available in the market, empowering families to take necessary precautions to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Consult a Healthcare Professional: Your First Step Towards Safe Contraception
There are many misconceptions about contraceptives. Some people are reluctant to try modern contraceptive methods, worrying that they are dangerous or harmful.
Speaking to a medical professional is the best way to understand the pros and cons of modern contraceptives, and to identify the right method for you. Visit Howuknow to learn more.