Repeated use of emergency contraceptive pills rendered safe; can they also serve effectively as a regular contraceptive method?

The E pill

The E pill

The emergency contraceptive pill has aroused debates as to whether it can serve as a regular contraceptive method, client’s safety when used more than once in a single menstrual cycle and its side effects.

Much as it can be bought over the counter, its access in some places is limited to avoid cases of overdose as well as ectopic pregnancy risks among other perceived side effects.
This is quite a contentious subject given the high rate at which women go for the emergency pills all the time as they live with fear as to what risks to expect.

A recent research conducted by International Consortium for Emergency Contraception (ICEC) cites that using emergency contraceptive pills more than once is extremely safe.According to the research, the ECPs poses no risk of harmful overdose neither does it affect future fertility.

Quite often we are warned against using the ECPs more than twice a year to avoid risks of ectopic pregnancy. According to the ICEC fact sheet, ECPs can be used even more than once within the same menstrual cycle without an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.

“There are no restrictions on repeated use of ECPs,” states WHO’s 2015 eligibility criteria while the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that “ Emergency contraception may be used more than once even within the same menstrual cycle.”

ECPs function by delaying the ovulation of a woman. If this same individual engages in unprotected sex again after taking ECPs, she is still at risk of pregnancy within the same cycle. She is also still safe to use ECPs again.

While this research could be a relief to many women who find themselves taking ECPs every weekend to avoid pregnancy, it will also be important to ask if it can be used a regular contraceptive method effectively.

The research clearly indicates that ECPs are less effective as a contraceptive method compared to the ongoing methods such as IUCD, implant or even depo. In fact, it says it is only more effective than the condom in preventing pregnancy but does not prevent HIV or any othe sexually transmitted disease.

Much as repeated use of ECPs has been rendered safe, the article acknowledges the efficacy of ongoing contraceptives for a regular method in preventing unplanned pregnancy. In cases where a regular method has failed, forced sex cases and even unprotected sex, one is free to use ECPs regardless of the number of times previously consumed.

‘While women should know that ECPs are less effective than ongoing contraceptive methods and do not protect against STIs, each woman can use ECPs every time she has unprotected sex and wants to avoid unwanted pregnancy,’ cites the report.

To download the full report click here.

By Lynette Ouma

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Where are the men of Sigomere, Siaya County?

IMG_0134The role of a man-husband even in the bible starts with leadership, same applies to the traditional roles of men and women who were established to ensure the power of the head of household.

But what happens when it comes to accessing health services? This is a question I ask myself when you visit health facilities only to meet long queues of women and no man at all.

According to the report by the Commission for Revenue Allocations in the year 2013, Siaya is noted in top ten with people living with HIV/AIDs (100,400) and with highest infection too coming at number four after Kisumu, Homa bay and Nairobi Counties.

Despite having such a large number, it is still evidence that residents of Siaya County still shy off going for HIV/AIDS testing and counselling despite the services being offered for free and at their door steps.

To reach the undeserved community with accessible, sustainable quality health and education is the only Kmet’s commitment. That is why we hit the roads to reach out to Sigomere residents in Siaya County for HIV and AIDS Testing and Counselling, Cervical Cancer screening, TB screening as well as give them health talk and emphasize on the importance of having quality health.

To our astonishment, a larger number of those who came for the services were women of around 35 years and above. This left us asking, where are the men of this county, how about sons and daughters of the women who came for the services?

HIV testing and counselling, cervical cancer screening and TB screening forms a gateway for proper care, treatment and needed support for the persons in need.

That is why we encourage people who might have doubts about their health history to visit health facilities for verification because;
· It is proven that early and regular cervical cancer screening reduces incidences of maternal mortality as late stage at which women get diagnosed reduces their chances of survival.
· Early HIV diagnosis means a healthier life since you protect yourself as well as your partner hence avoid being infected of other sex related infections, and lastly you will be able to make right decisions such as if to have more children and take precaution measures to ensure the child is not either affected among other things.
· According to reports in the medical literature and CDC surveillance data, the Advisory Council for the Elimination of Tuberculosis (ACET), People who are in close contact with person suspected to have TB, persons infected by HIV, people who inject themselves with illicit drugs, infants and medically underserved-low income populations are at high risk of contracting TB hence should be screened.

As much as accessing the services should be voluntary it still important to embrace them as we visualize a community where there is accessible, sustainable quality health and education services and facilities.

That is why we urge everyone regardless the age and gender to know their health history to live healthy.

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