Contraception for Women with Diabetes

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Contraception for women

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 challenge, i.e., the risk of unintended pregnancy. 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 World Contraception Day, we will tell you all about the challenges of contraception and its solution. Hence, read on!

Types of Contraception for Women with Diabetes

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 finalizing what is right for you. Here are a few types of contraceptions for you to choose from-

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

Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Types of Contraceptives

Contraception for women

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 to women with diabetes who have problems with estrogen or are breastfeeding. 

Benefits Drawbacks
Helps with menstrual pain Must be taken on a daily basis
Controls irregular bleeding May have side effects such as headaches, nausea, or high blood pressure
Often helps in acne problems Might not work if you are suffering from vomiting

Condoms

Condoms are the easiest, most convenient, and immediate form of contraception that helps you in 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.

Benefits Drawbacks
Easily available and convenient Not 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)

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.

Benefits Drawbacks
A highly effective form of birth control Must be inserted inside the uterus
A long-term solution for preventing pregnancy Copper UID bit recommended to women with heavy bleeding as it increases the amount of vaginal bleeding
No requirement to remind anything on a daily basis Slightly risky to get a pelvic infection during insertion
Reversible in nature – once the UID device is taken out, fertility is back to normal Although 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 anesthesia. 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. 

Benefits Drawbacks
A highly reliable, inexpensive, and effective form of birth control Must be inserted and removed by a trained doctor, nurse, or midwife
A long-term solution for preventing pregnancy that lasts up to 3 years Can affect your menstrual cycle with significant changes in bleeding pattern
Easily reversible with no effect on fertility This 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 diarrhea or vomiting conditions.

Benefits Drawbacks
A highly reliable, inexpensive, and effective form of birth control Irreversible in nature and can take months to wear off the effect
Helps in reducing or completely stopping the pain Can affect your menstrual cycle with significant changes in bleeding pattern
Effective even during vomiting diarrhea Might lose bone density after injecting

 

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 have shown 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.

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.

Read More: Diabetes and Pregnancy: Everything You Need to Know

The safest course of action in all the methods of contraception is to consult your diabetes educator along with your doctor. On World Contraception Day, let us pledge to be aware of all contraceptives and how they affect our sugar levels.

Download the BeatO App to learn more such things about diabetes management and control.

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