Women Have More Faith on Pills and Condoms

Women tend to overestimate the efficiency of contraceptives like pills, condoms, patch or ring says a new study published in American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

More than 45 percent of the women in the study group overestimated the effectiveness of pills, patch, the ring, depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate and condoms.

The study group included more than 4000 women who were given counseling on contraception. These women were then asked about the percentage of pregnancy risk associated with each method (<1 %, 1-5%, 6-10%, >10%, don’t know) in a year.

Pills and condoms are the most common methods of preventing pregnancies and the effectiveness is about 91-99%.IUD’s ( Intrauterine device copper T) that releases copper or the intrauterine system that releases a small amount of hormone in the body are 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. Patches and rings are 91-99 % effective, patches are worn on abdomen, buttock or upper body while the ring is placed in the vagina.

There are many published studies that describe the efficiency of 6the contraceptive methods while there are others that study the failures of these devices in preventing pregnancies. Mostly, all experts agree that the method fails due to discontinuation or not following advice on the use of the method (eg – forgetting to take the pill)

“The contraceptive patch is comparable to combination oral contraceptives (OC) in contraceptive efficacy and cycle control. Compliance was better with weekly contraceptive patch than with the Oral contraceptive” write Marie-Claude Audet and colleagues in The Journal of American Medical Association. They had studied on the efficiency of the patch versus the pill.

“A significant relationship was observed between a history of IUD expulsion and IUD failure risk. No relationship was observed between the risk of IUD failure and gynecological background (fibroma, polyps and miscarriage), nor with any type of medicine taken by the woman,” report Patrick Thonneau and colleagues in the journal Human Reproduction. The study looked at the reasons for IUD failures.

“Overall, 2.9% of women experienced a contraceptive failure in the first year of use and 8.4% in the first 5 years of use. The IUD had the lowest first year failure rate (1.1%), followed by the pill (2.4%), the condom (3.6%), fertility awareness methods (periodic abstinence or safe period by temperature) (7.7%), withdrawal (10.1%) and spermicides (21.7%). These failure rates varied little by user characteristics” report C Moreau and colleagues in a related study published in Human Reproduction in 2007. The research was aimed at providing method-specific failure rates among French women. The study says that about 65% of unintended pregnancies in France occur while using contraceptives

According to Centers for disease Control and Prevention( CDC) report on Use of Contraception in United States :1982-2008 report, 99 % of women who ever had an intercourse used one of the contraceptive methods. The report suggests that most pregnancies are cause by inconsistent or incorrect use and not by the method itself. In 2006-2008, close to 10 million women were using oral pills. The second most preferred method was the female sterilization. These two methods have been the preferred contraceptive methods since 1982.

10% of the pill users (1.4 million) stopped taking the pill because they got pregnant.

The second most cited reason for discontinuing condom use was that women were worried about the efficacy of the method (23%, or 1.2 million). The first being the partner’s disapproval (41%, 2.2 million)

44 % of the women who had unintended pregnancy said that they didn’t think they could get pregnant.

The reason many women choose oral contraceptives over implants is lack of information and costs. The cost of IUD can go from $500 to $800 minus the doctor’s fees while pills cost anywhere between $10 and $50. But, IUDs last for years after and give better protection. (Reuters Health)