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Side-effects of self-medication

Published: 22nd September 2012 10:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd September 2012 10:25 AM   |  A+A-

The fate of young adults hangs by a thread as casual sex has pushed them to opt for the morning after pill, which is readily available over the counter. Instead of being more careful or using protection, youngsters now prefer to pop the pill every time they get intimate, sometimes even without intercourse.

It was a morning that 19-year-old Sunena Menon (name changed) will never forget. This was the fourth time in a month that she had popped a pill without consulting a gynaecologist. “I experienced abdominal cramps, skin allergies and vomiting sensation for a while. I had to be rushed to the hospital,” she says.

“Youngsters are preferring to use the morning after pill without consulting a medical practitioner. These emergency contraceptives are supposed to be taken only when there is no other option and should not be used as a substitute for condoms,” said Dr N Sundari, senior professor at a private medical college.

Though the pills help in curbing a lot of unwanted pregnancies, if misused they can also cause a lot of health issues. Moreover, these pills don’t help in preventing sexually transmitted diseases, which is on the rise as more and more youngsters are going for the pill instead of a condom,” she added. She further said that though a boon to the society, the pill is being used rampantly. If taken too often it can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, irregular menstrual cycle, lower abdominal pain and in some cases excessive vaginal bleeding.

Taking the pill regularly can also cause irregular menstrual cycle. “Though the pills are available over the counter, it is always better to consult a doctor if you take it more than once,” said Dr Shweta Pramod, infertility specialist. According to Dr Pramod the most common problem that rises if the pill is consumed often is tube pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy or a tube pregnancy is a complication in which the embryo implants outside the uterine cavity. It is dangerous for the mother, since internal haemorrhage is life-threatening.

“Young women need to be more careful when they decide to take the pill. No medicine comes without side-effects and should not be misused,” she said.

For 22-year-old Sandhya Sharma(name changed) and her boyfriend, the emergency contraceptive had become a regular thing. Instead of using condoms, this became an easy way out for the couple. Sandhya would consume four emergency pills in a week. Within a few days she realised that her menstrual cycle went for a toss and that she suffered from hormonal imbalance. “I would continuously have stomach cramps and suffered from irregular menstrual cycle. After a couple of months I had to go see the doctor. After the tests I got to know I had developed ovarian cysts. I am still on medication because of my carelessness,” she recalls.

Though the emergency pill has helped in curbing unwanted pregnancies in many cases, if misused it can lead to serious health issues. So instead of playing doctor, consult a gynaecologist.



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