Contraception And Misconceptions

Issues related to ‘Love’ and ‘Sex’ is probably the most discussed yet unchartered affairs of our society. It’s common for young teens to mix the idea of 'modernity' and 'freedom' to justify their romantic indulgence and dating has more become a creative method to justify freedom and modernized self-being.

The dating practice being followed by sexual relationship is the part of the modernizing culture these days. Trending in today’s generation, being intimate with your love is common. The blame or judgment cannot be drawn to the teenagers as they are unaware of the consequences.

To understand the mindset of the youths regarding the premarital sex and contraception, we interviewed few youths.  

Sunita Koirala (name changed), originally from Nuwakot, now studying in college near Baneshwor says that pre-marital sex is always repressed in Nepalese traditional norms and to a greater extent in her district as well. Even in the most civilized city of Nepal, Kathmandu, the conservative norms still exists. Due to the lack of knowledge about the sex education in our society, youths have to face problems regarding it. To hide the consequence from the society, girls are either forced to take emergency contraceptive pills or get abortion.

A 17-year-old student from Boudha says that she immediately consumes contraception to avoid premature pregnancy. She argues that there is a misconception in society in using drugs, as she has read in various websites that "There is nothing harmful in taking I-Pill". Her insecurities have eliminated since then.

Pharmacist Yashoda Karki of Chirayu Pharmacy has been operating the shop since 4 years. She informed us that she has come across customers of different ages who come to buy different types of contraceptive devices. She said that mature people prefer condoms whereas youth prefer emergency contraceptives pills. Customers are usually college students. When she tries to explain the youths the side effects of the emergency contraceptive pills, the youths ignore her and buy them.

We asked Gynecologist Dr. Sushila Baidya some questions regarding contraception.

1. Are emergency contraceptive pills safe? How can one avoid its effects?

- Emergency contraceptive pills available in market are to be used within 72 hours of having sex to prevent pregnancy. These are safe for occasional use however, these pills do have lots of side effects like: nausea, headache, weakness, abdomen cramps, dizziness, breast tenderness, jaundice, blurred vision, chest pain and irregular menstrual cycle. If these symptoms are seen, one can consult doctor and take medicine.

2. Medically, is there any age bar as to when can a person start using them?

- Though there is no such age bar, it is recommended not to take emergency contraceptive pills before 16, moreover, avoid sex itself as girls are physically and physiologically not fit to have sex till 16.

3. In your opinion, how aware are today's youth about the use of contraceptives pills?

- In my opinion and as I face cases, youths are not aware about the use, effects and side effects of these pills. They tend to get intimate without knowing its results. They just know pills prevent pregnancy. If today's youth are made aware about the use of contraceptives, 50% of unwanted pregnancy can be prevented.

4. What are some of the myths or misconceptions seen among the people/ youth?

- Myths or misconceptions like contraceptives are unsafe, can affect in future pregnancy, can cause cancer, and if pregnant, may harm the fetus still exist in the society which is not true. However, emergency contraceptive pills are not safe for regular use.

5. How often do you see cases of teenage pregnancy/abortion?

- I see lots of such cases. Young girls, getting pregnant and aborting in roadside clinic has become very common nowadays. They only seek doctor’s help if the condition gets worst, like continuous bleeding.

6. Are there any cases where a pregnancy went wrong due to overuse/misuse of contraceptive pills?

- No.

7. Your advice to the today’s youth?

- Emergency contraceptive pills do not prevent you from STD. So use appropriate regular pills which are safe, use condom which prevents you from being pregnant and saves your life from STD as well. A new study suggests that using oral contraceptives protects women from certain cancers for at least 30 years.

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