5.1  Misconceptions and facts about oral contraceptives

There are many myths, rumours and misconceptions associated with taking oral contraceptives. You may be aware of some yourself. The most common ones are listed in Box 5.1. Do your best to ensure that your clients know the truth about these myths.

Box 5.1  Myths and facts about contraceptive pills

Myth:Women who stop taking the pill may not be able to get pregnant. They become infertile.
Fact:Most women who use a method of contraception, including the pill, can later get pregnant if they wish. The pill will not cause women to be infertile.
Myth:The pill causes cancer.
Fact:The pill does not cause cancer. In fact, the pill actually reduces the risk of getting certain cancers, such as endometrial and ovarian cancers.
Myth:Oral pills build up in a woman’s body.
Fact:Oral pills do not build up in a woman’s body.
MythWomen need to rest from taking oral contraceptives on sex-free days.
Fact:Women do not need a rest from oral contraceptives. They have to take them every day, whether or not they have had sex that day.
Myth:Oral contraceptives cause birth defects or multiple births.
Fact:Oral contraceptives do not cause birth defects or multiple births
Myth:Oral contraceptives change women’s sexual behaviour.
Fact:Oral contraceptives do not change women’s sexual behaviour.
Myth:Oral contraceptives accumulate in a woman’s stomach.
Fact:Oral contraceptives do not collect in the stomach. Instead, the pill dissolves each day.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 5

5.2  Oral contraceptives and how they work