Common misunderstandings doctors confront about preventing pregnancy


contraceptive
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Sex is one of the most natural things in the world—none of us would be here without it. Yet there are many things about sex that need to be learned. Even today, 60 years after the introduction of oral contraceptives, almost half of pregnancies worldwide are unintended. Avoiding pregnancy takes planning, and health professionals can do a lot to help patients better understand contraception.

As an academic physician, I teach an annual course at the Indiana University School of Medicine called “Sexuality for the Clinician,” an important topic often not well covered in medical schools. In my classes, medical students report misunderstandings they encounter among patients about various topics, including contraception.

Some of these wrong ideas are mentioned year after year, and correcting them presents a prime opportunity to enhance . Here are four common ideas about contraception that are incorrect, each representing a real patient’s story.

Rhythm method

The test of a patient in her 20s came back positive. She protested to her physician that she couldn’t be pregnant. Her physician asked what form of contraception she and her husband had been using. She responded that they scrupulously avoided sex during her “fertile time.” Upon further questioning, the patient revealed her understanding that pregnancy could only occur on a single day each month.

In reality, assuming a woman has a 28-day menstrual cycle, there are about six days during each cycle when sex can result in pregnancy. While a woman’s egg retains its fertility for up to 24 hours after ovulation, the release of an egg from the ovary, sperm can remain viable in the for up to five days.

This means that patients employing the so-called “rhythm method,” one of the least reliable forms of contraception, need to avoid sex for at least six days in the middle of each cycle.

The pill

A teenager using oral contraceptives became pregnant. When her physician asked how she had been taking her pills, she said that whenever she missed a pill, she would double up the next day. Once she missed taking her pills for five consecutive days. So, on the sixth day she took six pills.

One way to help patients use medication properly is to explain how it works, including why they need to take it regularly. In this case, providing the patient with a basic explanation of how oral contraceptives work could be beneficial.

While there are different types of “the pill,” most contraceptives work by preventing ovulation. The brain’s , the so-called “master gland” of the hormonal system, detects stable high levels of the pill’s ovarian hormones in the blood. As a result, the hormone that stimulates ovulation isn’t released. But a pill must be taken every day to keep levels sufficiently high to prevent an egg from being released.

Breastfeeding

A new mother with a four-month-old baby expressed her fear to her doctor that she was pregnant again. How could this be, she asked, since she had been breastfeeding her baby since birth? The patient was correct that breastfeeding can suppress ovulation, but only if breastfeeding is frequent enough.

As it turned out, while the patient had been breastfeeding her baby since birth, she had also been feeding the baby formula, limiting breastfeeding to two or three times each day. In addition, her had resumed the previous month.

Breastfeeding can be effective as a means of contraception in the first six months after birth. The hormones produced by the mother’s body during breastfeeding naturally suppress the pituitary gland’s secretion of hormones necessary to ovulate.

However, the baby must be exclusively breastfed and feed at least every four hours during the day and every six hours at night. Otherwise, will not adequately suppress pituitary secretion, and pregnancy can occur.

Sexually transmitted disease

A teenager came to a sexual health clinic complaining of symptoms of itching, rash and painful urination, which her physician suspected was the result of a sexually transmitted infection.

When her doctor asked her about contraception, she reported that she was “on the pill.” Therefore, she said, she could not have an STI.

Many patients mistakenly assume that, in addition to preventing pregnancy, contraceptives can prevent STIs. While oral and other types of contraceptives, such as IUDs and hormonal implants, are usually highly effective in preventing pregnancy, they do nothing to reduce the risk of STIs.

The only widely used form of contraception that reliably prevents STIs is the condom. It creates a barrier between the skin and bodily fluids of sex partners. To prevent infection, condoms need to be used in addition to other forms of contraception.

Sex and medicine

These are a few examples of common misunderstandings that patients may harbor about contraception. Others include the idea that pregnancy can occur only if the woman has an orgasm, if sex occurs in certain positions or if the woman refrains from various cleansing practices, such as douching or taking a shower. In fact, none of these situations is likely to alter the probability of pregnancy in a reliable way.

Misunderstandings about sex include not only but topics such as sexual response, sexual dysfunction and sexually transmitted infections. Such misconceptions serve as stark reminders that many people have not been well educated about essential aspects of sexual health. Families, schools and have a lot of work to do.


Women’s wellness: The morning-after pill


Provided by
The Conversation


This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.The Conversation

Citation:
Sex talk: Common misunderstandings doctors confront about preventing pregnancy (2020, May 20)
retrieved 20 May 2020
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-05-sex-common-doctors-pregnancy.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.



loading...

Related posts:

Turkey records 29 deaths, 987 new COVID-19 cases
Some recommended cardiovascular medications prescribed less frequently to women
Xtreme Research Award: Prof. Nolan für Arbeiten zum Makulapigment ausgezeichnet
The malaria parasite P. vivax can remain in the spleen upon expression of certain proteins
Lagerungsschwindel – Einfache Frage zur Diagnose?
Schulterschluss der Herzmedizin – Wir dulden keinen Rassismus
Abnormalities detected on brain MRI of COVID-19 patients in ICU
DGIM-Vorsitz 2020/2021: Dresdner Gefäßmediziner Schellong übernimmt 
Incidence of AMI hospitalization down during COVID-19
Researchers use old equations coupled with new methods to help decode the massively complex gut micr...
US bans Brazil travel over virus surge as Europe keeps easing
France reports drop in coronavirus deaths, toll tops 27,000
Outside US, top scientists steer debate away from politics
Retinal texture could provide early biomarker of Alzheimer's disease
What can a COVID-19 antibody test tell me?
National parks hope visitors comply with virus measures
How should I clean and store my face mask?
These coronavirus 'carriers' take test samples around London
Defects in developing frog brain can be prevented or repaired with bioelectric drugs
Virologe Streeck wehrt sich gegen Vorwürfe: „Doof gelaufen“
DGVS mahnt Rückkehr zur regulären Früherkennung an
UK pledges June 1 rollout of contact-tracing amid criticism
Faktencheck: Augenherpes wegen Mundschutz? Zusammenhang nicht belegt
Krebs im Kindesalter: Den richtigen Zeitpunkt für ein Gespräch zum Lebensende finden
Deutsche Krebshilfe und die Arbeitsgemeinschaft Dermatologische Prävention raten zu neuer Normalität...
Analysis of COVID-19 genomes reveals large numbers of introductions to the UK in March
Vorhersage eines Lungenversagens bei Patienten mit COVID-19
SARS-CoV-2 verstehen: Forschungsprojekte ergründen Eigenschaften und Ausbreitung
Mental ill health 'substantial health concern' among police, finds international study
Museums, hotels, bars to reopen in Madrid, Barcelona
Radiologists detail COVID-19 infection controla and radiographer protection in CT exam areas
Study finds association between atherosclerosis and changes in the structure, heart function
Pandemic halts vaccination for nearly 80 million children
UK buys 10 million antibody tests for care staff, patients
Problems with alcohol? 29 gene variants may explain why
Turkey registers 41 new deaths, lowest since end of March
High-quality end-of-life care will enable older people with frailty to live well and die well
Chemists develop foolproof new test to track the fats we eat
Warum Lymphdrüsenkrebs das Gehirn befällt
Geography of childhood cancer in Switzerland studied
Mediziner fordern vollständige Öffnung von Schulen und Kitas
Sozioökonomische Faktoren beeinflussen Lebensqualität nach einer Herzoperation
Virus heads upriver in Brazil Amazon, sickens native people
No new virus deaths in Ireland for first time 10 weeks
New virus deaths in Spain fall to two-month low under 100
Neue Emmy Noether-Nachwuchsgruppe erforscht schwere Pilzinfektionen
Immunantwort nach Corona-Infektion im Blick
Endgültiges Aus für Mentholzigarette in der EU
Sleep-wake disturbances can predict recurrent events in stroke survivors
France virus toll nears 28,500 as daily deaths slow
PM Johnson says Britain could reopen stores on June 15
Global spread of the multi-resistant pathogen Stenotrophomonas maltophilia
3-D-RoboticScope: Operieren mit einem Kopfnicken
WHO-Studie: Jeder fünfte Jugendliche in Deutschland ist zu dick
BCG: Warnung vor latenten Infektionen
Analytics and data collecting spur helmet safety in football
Entwicklung maschineller Lernverfahren: Großer maschinenlesbarer EKG-Datensatz veröffentlicht
Thailand malls reopen, with temperatures taken, masks worn
Machine that oxygenates blood may help critically ill COVID-19 patients
France revises down coronavirus death toll
Psoriasis und Psoriasis-Arthritis: Evaluierung veränderbarer Risikofaktoren
Weniger indolente, mehr aggressive Prostatakarzinome
Walking or cycling to work associated with reduced risk of early death and illness
Turning to wine during lockdown? Here's how to protect your teeth
To become happy, people need enough time... But how much is enough?
Dr. Ecker erhält Preis für Notfallmedizin
Binge drinkers beware, drunkorexia is calling
Newborn may have contracted coronavirus in the womb
Antarctica's splendid isolation keeps coronavirus at bay
Researchers develop high-performance cancer vaccine using novel microcapsules
Schnellere Identifikation von Krankheitserregern dank neuem Verfahren
Parents that know a child's preferences can assertively guide exercise
Aldosterone production is a common and unrecognized cause of high blood pressure
Studie enthüllt viele Möglichkeiten, wie Karzinogene die Entwicklung von Brustkrebs auslösen
Europe reopens widely; China gives $2 billion to virus fight
Chirurgie-Ausbildung mit Roboter und Virtueller Realität
Blood flow recovers faster than brain in micro strokes
Study highlights importance of emergency department in hospital readmissions
Researchers launche clinical trial to help reduce severity of COVID-19 illness in men
Insomnia may forecast depression, thinking problems in older people
Study finds that aging neurons accumulate DNA damage
Loosened restrictions, holiday weekend to test California
SPD-Experte widerspricht Kinderärzten bei Öffnung von Schule und Kita
Kinder und Jugendliche psychisch stark machen – Neues Infoportal geht ans Netz
Interaktion von Immunsystem und Gehirn
Illinois mandated 'Stay-at-home' orders, nearby iowa didn't: here's what happened
US regulators approve new type of contraceptive gel
Public information key to combating rising 'superbug' threat
Schmerztherapie ohne Opioide nach roboterassistierten Eingriffen
New studies reveal extent and risks of laughing gas and stimulant abuse among young people
Bakterien nutzen NO, um Schleimhaut zu besiedeln
Hamster tests show masks reduce coronavirus spread: scientists
A child's brain activity reveals their memory ability
Why pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is so lethal
Sociodemographic factors associated with a positive test for COVID-19 in primary care
Scientists fight online virus misinformation war
High-tech devices help NFL teams keep players safe, in shape
Treating skin irritations from wearing face masks
Obesity ups odds for dangerous lung clots in COVID-19 patients
COVID-19 death counts 'substantial underestimation' of actual deaths for some Italian regions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post

s' do ta besoni se çfarë funksioni kryen mjekrra të meshkujt

Wed May 20 , 2020
Mjekrrat janë tipari më i dukshëm i dimorfizmit seksual, ndryshimit fizik mes meshkujve dhe femrave. Por qëllimi i tyre ka qenë një enigmë dhe shumë kërkues kanë besuar me vite se arsyeja e mbajtjes së tyre ishte për tu bërë më tërheqës ndaj femrave. Një studim i ri ka zbuluar […]