It is a tablet that is swallowed once a day and it contains estrogen and progestin which are female hormones. It prevents pregnancy by mainly preventing ovulation (the release of an egg) from occurring. It also affects the uterine lining and cervical mucous making the chances of a sperm fertilizing the egg very rare.
The image on the left shows a display of birth control pills. We can see that it has been arranged and labeled in a way that there is a pill for each day and the entire pack is enough for four weeks. This is for efficiency as it makes it easier for the user to remember to take their pills and also helps them track their progress.
Emergency contraceptives are taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. A two dose pill is taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex and the second pill is taken 12 hours later disrupting the uterus lining, suppressing ovulation and as a result preventing pregnancy. They should not be taken as much as the birth control pills because they have high hormonal levels that are toxic to your body and may in the long term harm your liver. As the name suggests they are only to be used in emergency cases.
Postinor-2 is a very common type of emergency contraception in Kenya. Its demand is very high and is estimated to be mostly bought by young girls. An anonymous chemist attendant in Nyeri said that the demand was very high and his major audience was young girls between the age of 19 and 26. According to Dr. Moses Mburu taking more than the permitted dose can cause hormonal imbalance and excessive bleeding. (Mburu, 2012) This has created fears of possible abuse of the drugs.
NB: For the birth control pills to be most effective they should be taken daily. Also in as much as they are highly effective at preventing pregnancy they do not prevent STIs
According to a small survey conducted across several pharmacies, found out that emergency contraceptive prices range between 100 to 200 Kenya shillings.
Use of pills as a contraceptive method has its side effects as mentioned below:
• Decrease the amount of your period
• Decrease severe menstrual cramps
• Improve acne
• In the long-term use of birth control pills reduces ones risk of ovarian and uterine cancer
Hormonal Methods. C 2014 Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center. Removed from: http://www.boulderwomenshealth.org/our-services/birth-control/hormonal-methods/
Types of emergency contraception. C 2015 Office of population Research and Association of Reproductive Health professionals. Retrieved from: http://ec.princeton.edu/questions/morningafter.html
Mburu. N (2012 September 25) E-pills sales fuel fear the youth are abusing drug. Business Daily. Removed from: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Corporate-News/Epills-brisk-sales-fuel-fear-the-youth-are-abusing-drug/-/539550/1517678/-/2ixdfj/-/index.html
EC Status and Availability Kenya. International Consortium for Emergency Contraception. Removed from: http://www.cecinfo.org/country-by-country-information/status-availability-database/countries/kenya/