6 QUESTIONS MALAYSIAN WOMEN SHOULD ASK THEIR PHARMACIST ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL
Posted on: May 22, 2022
Make the Best Use of Your Pharmacy Visit In Malaysia for Birth Control Advice.
This can be an uncomfortable appointment for many women because it involves talking about intimate, private details. However, overcoming your shyness and speaking openly about your reproductive health will only benefit you. So, find a pharmacist you trust with great communication skills.
Prepare questions you’d like to ask your pharmacist, so that you have a realistic idea of what your medication can do for you. Anything you say is kept strictly confidential. Here are a few important questions that you can consider:
1. Which type of birth control method is right for me?
Contraception prevents unwanted pregnancy, hormonal imbalance, and relieves heavy and painful periods. There are plenty of birth control options you can choose from at the pharmacy in Malaysia today; patches, pills, sponges, vaginal rings, and condoms. But the right one for you depends on different things.
For instance, your age and lifestyle — some contraceptives may not be effective if you’re over 35 and if you smoke. Whether you use contraception correctly every time and how often you are sexually active matter too. Some contraceptives may cause weight gain. By discussing your current needs and health status with your pharmacist, you’ll be able to choose the method that suits you best.
2. What kind of birth control can I get in pill form?
There are two types of contraception pills for birth control that you can purchase without a prescription.1 Depending on the brand and dosage, you may get a pill packet that contains only 21 active hormone pills or a packet with 21 active hormone pills and 7 days placebo pills. There are other newer packs, 24 active pills and 4 placebo pills.2
Pills containing a single hormone known as progestin-only pills are intended for women who cannot take estrogen, while pills containing both hormones known as combination pills are ideal for women who seek benefits beyond contraception. Your pharmacist can advise you on which of these is right for you.3
3. How are oral birth control pills taken?
According to Planned Parenthood, you’re protected from becoming pregnant if you take the combined pill every day.4 Most women start the pill at any time during their menstrual cycle, unless they just gave birth, had abortions or miscarriages.5
Depending on when you start taking it within your menstrual cycle, your pharmacist may recommend that you use a backup form of contraception, such as a condom, during your first days on the pill.6 It is imperative to follow your pharmacist’s instructions. You should always ask your pharmacist for advice on when and how you should take the pill.
4. What if I missed a dose of OCP
Taking dummy pills doesn’t increase your chances of unwanted pregnancy if you’re taking the pill exactly as directed. The combined pill is one of the most reliable methods of contraception.7 However, if you miss a pill or several pills during a cycle, you may be risking unwanted pregnancy during that cycle.
Accidentally missing a dose is common for pill takers, and every brand of oral contraceptive contains a patient information packet, which includes instructions to follow if you missed a dose. Should you miss several pills during a cycle, try using a condom as an added precaution. Your pharmacist will be able to guide you if you’re unsure.
5. What side effects are associated with the use of birth control pill?
Some women take the pill to reduce acne, premenstrual symptoms, and heavy periods.8 It is necessary that you understand how to take oral contraceptives correctly and its potential risks and side effects. Most women who take the combined pill do not experience many side effects, as hormonal side effects are mostly mild-to-moderate.
Common side effects include temporary headaches, spotting, nausea, or breast tenderness.9 If side effects persist, talk to your pharmacist about switching to a different pill that would work better for you.
6. Could any health problems make birth control pills unsafe for me?
With more than 99% effectiveness to prevent pregnancy, the combined pill is safe for almost all women.10 Nevertheless, certain types of medication can make oral contraceptives less effective.
Before starting the pill, tell your pharmacist if you have any allergies or preexisting health conditions and if you are currently taking other medications, including over-the-counter or nonprescription medications, vitamins, and herbal medications. If you’re concerned that taking the pill could be risky and interfere with your medical problems, talk to your pharmacist.
Birth Control Pills and Their Effectiveness
Birth control pills might be a preference for some women in choosing their contraception methods. Besides being easier to get, the birth control pill does not hurt and requires no complicated process. It has over 99% effectiveness and can help in preventing pregnancy if it’s taken correctly11. The right way to consume your birth control pills is by consistently taking one every day for 21 days and having a break for seven days, then continue taking it again.
The Way Birth Control Pills Work
Birth control pills, also known as oral contraception pills, are used to prevent pregnancy by stopping fertilization from happening. How does this happen? It happens with the role of this pill in preventing ovaries from releasing an egg, which also stops ovulation. Birth control pills will also cause the mucus in the neck of the womb to get thicker, making it harder for sperm to reach an egg.
In addition to that, by consuming birth control pills, the lining of the womb will get thinner, which later will prevent implanted eggs from attaching to the womb and growing inside you. There are mainly three main types of birth control pills which are Monophasic 21-day pills, Phasic 21-day pills and Every Day (ED) pills.
For Monophasic 21-day pills, each pill has the exact same amount of hormone in them, and you have to take one pill every day for 21 days, have a break for the next seven days, and then continue taking them again.
Phasic 21-day pills consist of two or three types of coloured pills in a single package. Each type of coloured pill contains a different number of hormone doses. A daily dose needs to be taken for 21 consecutive days, after which no pill should be consumed for the following week. Phasic pills must be taken in the correct sequence.
For Every Day (ED) pills, each packet contains 28 pills, and they are divided into two. The 21 pills in the packet are active pills, while another seven of them are dummy pills. Both of these types of two pills are not similar to each other. You have to take each of the 28 pills for 28 days without a break and with the right order.
Starting Your Birth Control Journey
If you are planning to take your birth control pills, you can take them at any time of your menstrual cycle. There is also specific guidance in taking it if you just had a baby, abortion or miscarriage, which might require you to get advice from a doctor. You should also remember that this is not a 100% proven effective method; hence, you might need to use additional contraception at the beginning of taking it.
If you are getting the birth control pill on the first day of getting your period, you will most likely be protected from pregnancy straight away, and no additional contraception is needed. This is also the same if you start taking the pill on the fifth day of your period or before. However, if you start taking the pill after the fifth day of your period cycle, you will need extra contraception for the next seven.
Ask Your Pharmacist About Birth Control
Advice on contraception is available for free from your local pharmacy. Prepare your questions in advance whether you’re looking for a new prescription or a refill so you’ll find a birth control pill that works for you.