Family planning is one of the many healthcare programs strongly emphasized by health agencies around the world including WHO. In Malaysia, doctors will discuss with mothers after her childbirth on the importance of family planning followed by the type of contraceptive methods available. Family planning is vital as it is a concern on women’s health and proper childcare as well as family financial planning of a family. It is a movement to ensure the protection of this vulnerable group of individuals.
Contraceptives or birth control exist in various methods of administration ranging from oral tablets to injections and intrauterine insertions with 99% effectiveness in preventing pregnancies if taken religiously. Its content can also differ from one type to another, combined or progesterone-only. The most preferred form is contraceptives tablets because it is easily taken. Brands producing OCPs are widely available for instance Yaz, Mercilon, Nordette, etc. Despite being an over-the-counter medication, users are advised to consult with medical professionals before purchase.
Before in-depth discussion regarding the mechanism of action of Nordette, one should know never to attempt taking any medicine containing Ethinyl estradiol or levonorgestrel IF she has past allergic reaction towards the aforementioned content (difficulty breathing, face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body swells up, skin changes). Do not take Nordette if you have or have had any of the following medical conditions:
- Having a history of a blood clot such as Venous thromboembolism (VTE), pulmonary embolism
- On blood thinners or anticoagulant medication
- Predisposing risk of VTE including obesity, age above 35 years, smoking, high cholesterol, family history of VTE, undergoing major surgery requiring a prolonged period of bed rest
- Past history or family history of arterial thromboembolism (ATE) including Stroke, Angina, Transient ischaemic attack or “mini-stroke”.
- History of migraine, accompanied by blurred vision, difficulty in speaking, muscle weakness, or increased sensitivity to light, sound, or noise
- Having risk factors for ATE: Uncontrolled high blood pressure, Diabetes with blood vessel damage, high blood lipid level, sickle cell anemia.
- Inflammation of the pancreas, which is associated with very high blood levels of triglycerides (fatty substances)
- Breast cancer or cancer of the lining of the womb, cervix or vagina, or you think you have these conditions
- Liver tumor or liver disease
- Yellowing of the whites of the eyes or of the skin (jaundice) during pregnancy or during previous use of an oral contraceptive
- Cancer or suspected cancer of the breast or sex organs (e.g. cervix, vagina, ovaries, endometrium, womb) and known or suspected estrogen-dependent tumors.
During medical consultation, aside from taking note of your medical history, patients choosing oral contraceptives will undergo several physical and blood tests namely a Pap smear, breast check, blood pressure check, and urine test. These tests are done prior and from time to time throughout consumption of the tablets to determine the health status of the patient before being put on the medication and any early changes occurring on users such as changes in bleeding patterns during later usage, pre-cancerous changes in the cervical lining, breast lumps, thickened blood consistency, jaundice.
Doing follow up on users of OCPs is a form of preventative and early intervention due to risk of cardiovascular problems (including arterial thromboembolism, pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction), carcinoma of the reproductive organs, hepatic malignancy, blood clot in retina , gallbladder disease most commonly stones, carbohydrate and lipid effects, elevated blood pressure, and headache. Hence, before selecting a type of contraceptives like Nordette or taking any form of medication, always do your research and consult medical professionals with regards to your existing health status and its relation to the medication side effects.