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Contraception (Birth Control)

Contraception or birth control has been in use throughout history. In ancient times methods of contraception were mainly herbs, however medical advancements have produced more efficient and successful methods. And even though birth control is an established medical practice primarily centered around female contraception, there has not been much pressure or improvement on male contraception. Even though men are equally responsible for pregnancy, the stress of contraception is mainly on women. Male contraception is also very limited as compared to those available to women. 


Adding to this, a lack of awareness on contraception, especially among men leads to unintended consequences and puts more pressure on women. Myths surrounding contraception are prevalent, especially in rural households, which discourages the use of contraception. Contraceptives are seen as a women's duty in some rural areas, women are also barred from using contraception due to their husband's wishes at times. 


However, this also means most women know a lot about contraception. Most people can buy contraception over the counter, these methods are not as effective as ones you can obtain with a doctor's prescription. To pursue long-term birth control, people usually undergo contraceptive counseling, where a doctor or clinician advises their patient on what type of birth control to use. Certain practices make it hard for patients to achieve their reproductive goals. For example, multiple studies show patients are pressured to use a specific type of contraception they don't necessarily want or require. Or that patients are recommended different forms of contraception due to their race. Such practices discourage them from pursuing further counseling and also making use of other healthcare benefits. Patients report pressure from clinicians to pursue contraception that doesn't align with their reproductive goals.  Side effects of contraception are withheld at times too.  


There exists an implicit bias towards women in using birth control. It is also hard for sexual minorities like transgender people to receive contraceptive care simply because healthcare facilities are under-equipped. These minorities also encounter discrimination from clinicians.

Pregnancy is not limited to one gender, yet inadequate treatment for the same exists.


The gender of the physician has little to do with such malpractices. But research has shown that the gender of a clinician has some effect on treatment outcomes. Preference for female doctors is prevalent among young adults. There are instances of better results and increased comfort with female doctors. In various studies, this preference decreases with age. 


The underlying issue is not whether patients prefer female doctors, but the lack of awareness and proper treatment. Birth control is shown to reduce cancer risk at times, but this is not widely known. This is also the situation for similar other benefits of birth control and contraception. Health care providers must be able to handle and address each patient's needs, especially transgender people and other sexual minorities. While studies have shown that women want control over the ultimate selection of a method for them, most also want their providers to participate in the process with emphasis on the patient's goals. 


A significant amount of problems exist within the system. However, moving towards an increased patient-centered form of contraceptive counseling and spreading awareness about contraception should be the foremost concern for clinicians and the government

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Tags: Contraception; Health; Control; Birth


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