Problems with contraceptive use and its consequences – A large international research survey of 8500 women and men

Problems with contraceptive use and its consequences – A large

international research survey of 8500 women and men

E. Pérez Campos1, R. Sánchez

Borrego2, C. Hendrix3

1Requena Hospital, Valencia, Spain, 2Diatros Clinic,

Barcelona, Spain, 3TNS-NIPO, Healthcare, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Objective To

assess knowledge and experience of factors that impact contraceptive

effectiveness during typical use, and the consequences of pregnancy scares among

women and men.

Methods A large survey was conducted in 14 European countries of

heterosexual men and women aged 16-40 years.

Results A total of 4309 women and

4222 men completed the survey. The contraceptive Pill (37% women; 34% men) and

male condoms (36% women; 49% men) were the most commonly used methods. Almost

half (47%) of Pill users were unable to spontaneously name any situation where

the Pill’s reliability was compromised, and even when prompted, awareness of

these situations was low for both women and men. After prompting, more than 80%

of Pill users said they had experienced situations where they were aware that

the Pill was no longer reliable, primarily because of missed pills (79%), but

also due to late intake (36%), vomiting (24%) and antibiotic use (24%). Half of

Pill users (50%) and partners of Pill users (49%) continued to have sex when

they knew the reliability of the Pill had been compromised; 76% of these women

did not always use additional contraception. Over half (54%) of Pill users who

had experienced compromised reliability had had pregnancy concerns, most

commonly because they had forgotten to take the Pill (62% of these women),

compared with 65% of women using male condoms who cited torn condoms as the most

common cause for their concern. Two thirds (65%) of men assumed that their

partner would inform them if they suspected that their method’s reliability had

been compromised, whereas only 35% of women actually always informed their

partner. Pill users tended to take sole responsibility for the possibility of

pregnancy whereas women using condoms saw the responsibility as shared.

Conversely, men using condoms tended to take responsibility for the possibility

of pregnancy, whilst partners of Pill users thought the responsibility was

shared. Pregnancy scares had a negative emotional impact on 67% of women’s and

59% of men’s lives.

Conclusions Over a third of Pill users knowingly risk

pregnancy (and undergo the emotional consequences of pregnancy scares) by having

unprotected intercourse when the Pill’s reliability is compromised and many more

unknowingly risk pregnancy by not being aware of these situations. The findings

demonstrate the need for contraceptive methods that minimise the risk of

incorrect use.

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