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International Women’s Day: Contraception For Women With Diabetes

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In today’s world, where people are dealing with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, It’s critical to draw attention to the association of women’s health concerns as we celebrate International Women’s Day. Among these concerns, there lies a critical challenge, which is contraception for women with diabetes. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that causes higher levels of blood sugar levels. Although men and women both have diabetes in roughly equal numbers, women with diabetes face an additional issue, i.e., the risk of unintended pregnancy.

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Moreover, diabetes is the most common condition that can cause complications in pregnancy. To reduce the chance of a potentially risky, unintended pregnancy, a reliable method of contraception for women is really important until you plan to become pregnant.

Contraception allows you to have a safe sexual life and enables you to choose whether you want to have a baby or not. However, it is important to remember that contraceptives do not protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Since there are various contraceptive choices available, on this International Women’s Day, we will tell you all about the challenges of contraception and its solutions. Hence, read on!

Also read: Diabetes Skin Care for Women: Everything You Need to Know

Women with Diabetes: Types of Contraception

Women with diabetes must speak to their diabetes educator, along with their doctor, to understand the best contraceptive method for them. You may still try a few of them before finalising what is right for you. Here are a few types of contraceptives for you to choose from.

  • Combined oral contraceptive pill
  • Progestin-only contraceptive pill
  • Condoms (male and female)
  • IUD (hormonal and copper)
  • Vaginal ring
  • Jadelle contraceptive implant
  • Emergency Contraceptive pill
  • Depo Provera injection

Different Types of Contraceptives: Advantages & Disadvantages

All types of contraceptives have their sets of advantages and disadvantages. Moreover, each type of contraception has a varied effect on sugar levels. The following talks about the different types of contraceptives for women with diabetes, along with their challenges and solutions.

Oral Contraceptive Pill

Birth control pills fall under two categories:

  • Combined oral contraceptive pill
  • Progestin-only contraceptive pill

The combined oral contraceptive pill contains both estrogen and progestin, whereas the latter only contains progestin. It is generally recommended to go for the combined oral pill to control irregular bleeding. Moreover, this also helps in reducing menstrual pain altogether. The progestin-only pill is recommended for women with diabetes who have problems with estrogen or are breastfeeding.

BenefitsDrawbacks
Helps with menstrual painMust be taken on a daily basis
Controls irregular bleedingIt might not work if you are suffering from vomiting
Often helps in acne problemsMight not work if you are suffering from vomiting

Also read: Understanding Diabetes and Periods

Condoms

Condoms are the easiest, most convenient, and immediate form of contraception that helps you with birth control. It also helps you in protecting your body from sexually transmitted diseases. They are readily available in supermarkets or even online and can be used by both men and women.

Although condoms are advised at all times, it is not the best form of contraceptive method when it comes to birth control. As per studies, 18 in every 100 women are likely to get pregnant with a male condom, whereas 21 in every 100 women with female condoms.

Nevertheless, if you are someone who has a sexually active life with multiple partners, it is always advisable to use condoms.

BenefitsDrawbacks
Easily available and convenientNot the best form of birth control method
Prevents you from STDs and STIs

Intrauterine contraception

Intrauterine contraception involves the process of using a small IUD device that is placed inside the uterus. The IUD device is available in two forms:

  • Copper IUD
  • Hormonal IUD (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system)

Also read: Diabetes and Menstruation – Everything you need to know

The hormonal IUD is made out of flexible plastic with a nylon string attached to it. An IUD device placed inside a womb can last for 5-10 years. In fact, this type of birth control method allows you to sit and relax as they are one of the most reliable forms of contraceptives. Moreover, this process is reversible and allows the body to return to fertility by simply taking out the device.

BenefitsDrawbacks
A highly effective form of birth controlMust be inserted inside the uterus
A long-term solution for preventing pregnancyCopper UID bit is recommended for women with heavy bleeding as it increases the amount of vaginal bleeding
No requirement to remind anything on a daily basisSlightly risky to get a pelvic infection during insertion
Reversible in nature – once the UID device is taken out, fertility is back to normalAlthough least likely, the uterus can push out the UID device

Implant

Implanting is a process that involves implanting the hormone progestogen into the skin using local anaesthesia. One of the best benefits of an implant is that it can be reversed if someone suffers from side effects. Moreover, this form of birth control is known to be very effective in nature.

BenefitsDrawbacks
A highly reliable, inexpensive, and effective form of birth controlMust be inserted and removed by a trained doctor, nurse, or midwife
A long-term solution for preventing pregnancy that lasts up to 3 yearsIt can affect your menstrual cycle with significant changes in bleeding pattern
Easily reversible with no effect on fertilityThis method can also completely stop periods completely

Depot injections

Depot injections contain the hormone progestogen to be given every 12 weeks at a very high dose. In fact, this form of birth control has been indicated to be very reliable and effective. Moreover, depot injections are known to help reduce pain and work even in diarrhoea or vomiting conditions.

BenefitsDrawbacks
A highly reliable, inexpensive, and effective form of birth controlIrreversible in nature and can take months to wear off the effect
Helps in reducing or completely stopping the painEffective even during vomiting diarrhoea
Effective even during vomiting diarrheaMight lose bone density after injecting

Effect of Contraceptives on Women with Diabetes

Effect of Contraceptives on Women with Diabetes

Now that we understand the benefits and drawbacks of the common birth control methods let us know their effect on Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Contraceptive pills

Women with diabetes need to think twice before taking a contraceptive pill for birth control. Studies have indicated a rise in sugar levels due to estrogen. Estrogen is known to increase insulin resistance in the body. Moreover, diabetic women who take pills for more than two years are likely to have the following complications.

  • Kidney disease
  • Eye disease
  • Nerve disorder

Intrauterine contraception

Intrauterine contraception has been indicated to have a rare effect on sugar levels. Copper intrauterine devices (IUDs) are a safe and reliable contraceptive option for women with diabetes. They did not show any effect on Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. However, the impact of levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs has not been established.

Nevertheless, it has been indicated that intrauterine contraception is one of the safest forms of contraceptives for people with diabetes.

Also read: International Women’s Day 2024: Diabetes Prevention And Care

Implants

According to recent studies, contraceptive implants are likely to prevent blood clots in women with diabetes. They are considered one of the safest forms of contraceptives. This form of contraception steadily releases the hormone progestogen. Therefore, it reduces the greater risks for diabetics, such as heart attacks or strokes.

Depot injections

Since this form of contraception involves a high dosage of progestin to be inserted, there are higher chances of fluctuation in sugar levels, especially in type 2 diabetics. Moreover, studies have shown depot injections to increase cholesterol levels when used as a contraceptive.

Also read: Diabetes and Pregnancy: Everything You Need to Know

Final Thoughts

On this Women’s Day, let’s spread the word and make diabetic women aware of the research-based information and autonomy to make decisions regarding their reproductive health and diabetes. Additionally, by choosing the right contraceptive methods, diabetes women may have access to comprehensive care that supports their overall well-being and reproductive autonomy. The safest course of action in all the methods of contraception is to consult your diabetes educator along with your doctor. On International Women’s Day, let us pledge to be aware of all contraceptives and how they affect women’s sugar levels.

Disclaimer:The content of this article is compiled information from generic and public sources. It is in no way a substitute, suggestion, or advice for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. BeatoApp does not claim responsibility for this information .

Dr. Navneet Agarwal is an established and highly skilled Diabetology with over 25 years of experience in Diabetology & Obesity. He is well-regarded for his quality and patient-centered diabetes care. Also, keep track of your blood sugar levels with a Doctors’ approved smart glucometer and elevate your healthcare routine.

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