health talk with Adeola

Welcome to Health Talk with Adeola.

Today,  Dr. Adeola responds to a question asked by a blog visitor.

1. What are the contraception options and which is best for women.


Thank you for your question Bimbo.

1-Choice of contraception should be unique and individualised. The choice of contraception is usually agreed upon by health care professional and the client after considering the following; menstrual pattern and characteristics , mood changes, weight, child-bearing intentions, other co-existing and previous health conditions, lifestyle habit eg smoking , current medications , daily routines : eg remembering to take pills daily as opposed to medium and long-term methods (3 monthly , 3 yearly , 5 yearly or longer or indefinite methods ) etc .

That explains why we talk more about ‘best contraception’ for the particular lady in question rather than ‘a blanket best contraceptive method’.
The link below takes gives you comprehensive information on the available contraceptive methods and all the information to make an initial informed decision before consulting with a health care professional about the one that best suits.

2. Are there other types of protection for men other than condoms? (Why does it have to be women using contraception adding to our more than enough hormonal changes)?


2- Generally for men, there is the temporary option of condoms and the permanent* option of vasectomy.
*see more details in the link above .

I think mens’ health seeking habits are different from women generally, and they are less likely to visit the doctors as often as women do. Women visit their doctors for various reasons some of which are : women visit the doctors more often for menstrual problems during which they are likely to discuss contraception as a treatment method, women visit for post-natal reasons and they are again likely to be offered contraception, and they visit more often for reasons related to their babies ( baby checks/immunisations ) and also with their teenage daughters and again contraception discussions often surface during such interactions..

These may have an impact on why women are more likely to take on contraception as well as the obvious fact that it’s the woman’s body( as well as lifestyle) that is affected by the effects of uncontrolled pregnancies.

I hope this helps .



4 thoughts on “Health Talk With Adeola

  1. Aunty Lulu this is a very interesting topic which every woman can relate to. A married woman wanting to plan her family would rely on some form of contraception. Ladies ( married or single , young or old ) with extremely heavy periods are sometimes prescribed a form of contraception
    to help manage their periods.
    This topic is so relevant to women however which of these different types of contraceptions should a woman stay away from. I remember some years ago I was offered an IUD that had a hormone inside it and would slowly release into the body. The mere fact that it had a hormone in it made me freak out! I refused it. I had a childhood friend who used the hormone planted subcutaneously. She did put on weight but not a lot as she worked round the clock to keep her weight down.
    1.Do these hormonal contraceptives interfere with our body’s natural hormone balance or compliment it?
    2.Are they the cause of the rise in female organ cancers ( cancer of the breast and cervix/ ovary etc) that we see in the society today?
    I would want some light shed on this issue because nurses in GP surgeries never answer these type of questions. I have 2 daughters and for their sakes I really want to know so that I can advise them rightly from a well informed position on what to request for or avoid when the time comes.

    1. Thank you for the issues you raised, I’ve passed your questions to Dr. Adeola and I’ll let you know immediately she responds.

    2. Thank you for your questions Joyce.

      Deciding which contraception is good for one on the background of the perceived risks associated with its use can be daunting . What particular contraceptive to avoid would usually be based on the individual’s health history and whether or not the benefit outweighs the risk and this benefit versus risk ratio is generally applied  in the practice of medicine to determine whether or not a treatment modality is worth the while .

      Answer to your  first question :

      1. Hormonal contraceptives may impact on our natural hormone balance for example women have reported nausea/breast pain/tenderness, mood changes , menstrual changes, reversible ovarian cysts and weight gain amongst others with the use of the oral contraceptive pills and contraceptive implants. The reasons for these are not entirely causal but evidence suggest these symptoms /side effects have been attributed to contraceptive use.

      There are situations where contraceptive effects is deemed complimentary eg around  the peri menopause where the woman doesn’t feel as much of the disturbing symptoms of the peri menopause because of the ameliorating effects of the oral contraceptive in use.

      Answer to your second question: 

      2. Contraceptive use and cancer risk has always been a hot topic . Every woman has a baseline  cancer risk attributable to other factors whether or not we use contraception. The use of some types of contraception may further increase the risk slightly but for most people it’s not too much of a risk to outweigh the benefits of contraception therefore it’s beneficial for that woman to use the contraception in question. However for some women the use of certain contraception becomes an unacceptable risk ( or contraindication to contraceptive use ) where the risks far outweigh the benefit and as such a particular method is deemed unsafe for a particular lady based on her health profile and it should never be recommended or prescribed for her. This risk as far as cancer is concerned is usually based on previous or current  history of cancer , family history of cancer, current risk of cancer based on the persons current habits / lifestyle / certain medications etc  amongst other considerations: this is not exhaustive and it is decided based on individual consultations.

      I have tried to summarise below the cancer risks associated with contraceptive use :

      Progesterone only contraceptive eg mini pills, implants :

      There is a possible increased risk of breast cancer with the use of POPs. However, this risk is very small compared with the overall risk of developing breast cancer, and 10 years after stopping the POP, the risk of developing breast cancer is the same as for women who have never used hormonal contraceptives.

      Combined oral contraceptive pills ( COC) : 

      There is a possible small increased risk of breast cancer which returns to normal within 10 years after stopping the COC.

      There is a small increased risk of cervical cancer which is related to duration of use.There is a small increased risk after 5 years and a two-fold increase after 10 years. The risk returns to normal 10 years after stopping the COC.Advise women to attend routine cervical cytology screening.

       *There has been some debatable evidence lately that the use of the COC might be protective against ovarian cancer but evidence for this has not been generally substantiated.

      Intrauterine contraceptives :eg mirena and IUCD 

      These are long-acting reversible contraceptives which have a licensed duration of use of 3–10 years, depending on the device chosen.

      Mirena ( the one that has a hormone embedded in it that it releases slowly locally into the womb and doesn’t go elsewhere ): there is no evidence that it increases cancer risk , it actually protects against overgrowth of the lining of the womb (so somewhat protective against womb cancer)

      IUCD : this has no hormones and has no reported bearing with cancer..

      All of the methods discussed above have their other side effects and more details can be found in the link included in my previous post on contraception choices but they are generally safe and that explains why it’s available for women in their reproductive life and most women use these from  teenage years up to late forties/early fifties. I would like to think that if the adverse risks are unacceptably high it shouldn’t be recommended for such a widespread use in medicine.

      There are screening methods eg mammograms for breast cancer, cervical screening for cervical cancer , screening bloods and ultrasound  to pick some changes /abnormalities in the ovaries but any woman whether on contraception or not that notice changes in their breasts, abnormal vaginal discharge , bleeding during or after sex, unexplained vaginal bleeding, inter-menstrual bleeding, unexplained bloating , unintentional weight loss or  any other symptoms that concerns them should see their doctor as a matter of urgency.

      So Joyce, I am hopeful that you will be able to have an informed discussion with your two daughters on this topic as a guide to help them seek the appropriate contraception for them.

      Best wishes,

      1. Thank you Dr Adeola for such a thorough and enlightening reply.
        I feel more confident on this issue rather than worried.
        Good job Aunty Lulu!!

Comments are closed.