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Hate Condoms? Try One of These Contraceptive Methods Instead

Updated 21 Jun 2021 – By Mia Sabrina Mahadir


What do these women have in common? Well, lockdown babies, of course!

As much as we are very happy for these celebs to be welcoming their newborns this year, not all of us are on the same boat when it comes to family planning. Unless you are financially prepared, making babies is NOT a lockdown activity you want to try out. 


For us broke ladies, a Dalgona coffee should do.
 

The MCO aside, some of us may also want to postpone pregnancy for many other reasons: some women choose to focus on their careers, some are waiting for the right time, and for some, it’s a personal choice. With what’s happening around the world right now, economically, socially and politically… many of us are not mentally, physically, and emotionally prepared, which is totally understandable!

So, how do we prevent ourselves from getting pregnant? All of us know the existence of condoms - they are easy to buy at affordable prices, and you can get them almost anywhere. In Form 3 Science classes, we also learnt about the withdrawal method (or commonly known as the “pulling out"), as well as the rhythm method where we track our monthly cycle and just avoid having sex during the “heaty” days.


Choose your colours.

Unfortunately, rubbers are a bother to many, and the withdrawal and rhythm method is only 78% to 88% effective, which is NOT a risk you want to take if you are seriously trying to not have a baby. These aside, many women (and men) may not know of other contraceptive methods available in Malaysia (partly because we all stopped paying attention in Science class the moment a reproductive organ figure appears on the page).  According to this article by CodeBlue, up to 20% of Malaysian women don’t actually know about other contraceptive methods, and just choose to risk it anyway.




Gurrrlll, if you had risked it because you didn’t know where to find information or get help, we got you covered. We interviewed a few Malaysian women (names of interviewee have been changed for privacy) about their contraceptive experience, and they also recommended some places where you can get them baby-blocking-mechanism for a good price. Here's our complete list of different birth control methods available out there, with prices and side effects!
 

1. Oral Contraceptive Pills



What is it?
Also known as birth control pills. You take it like medicine every day at the same time. (This is important). There are two types of pills out there, one with a mixture of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, and one with progesterone only. The pills work by increasing the amount of hormone in your body, which prevents the production of ovum. Depending on the type of pills, if you missed the consumption window, you will have to eat two pills the next day, or discard them completely and start over. Most pills are taken for 24 days, with 4 days of placebo pills, which will be the days you have your period.

Pros: The pills are 91% to 95% effective if used correctly. Some brands like Yaz also help in clearing your acne. This is also a suggested treatment for women with irregular periods.
Cons: You have to remember to take the pills around the same time every day! Some common side effects are migraine, weight gain, blood clotting, breast tenderness/swelling, and loss of libido.

Can it be purchased over the counter at pharmacies? Yes. Some famous brands include Yasmin, Yaz, Diane, Mirogynon, Regulon 

Price: RM30-RM60 per box, per month (prices has shown to increase with time, just like all commercial goods in our life)

Recommended place: Any pharmacies
 

“ I live in East Malaysia so they can go out of stock (It has happened before) so due to that, I buy multiple boxes,” - Ms Annie Choong*.

 

2. The Contraceptive Implant



What is it?
Just like the pills, this implant introduces the hormone progestin into your body. Most women call the implant by its famous brand Implanon, and it requires a small procedure at a clinic or hospital where a small plastic rod of about 4cm long will be inserted into your arm. The rod will release a small number of hormones into your body for 3 years. It works by preventing the production of ovum (no eggs for the sperm to infuse with), thickening the cervical mucus (larger “front gate” to prevent the sperm from swimming in), and thinning of the uterus lining (preventing the eggs from attaching to your body and becoming a baby).

Pros: 99% effective. Great for women with heavy, painful periods, or women who cannot take estrogen. The procedure is easy and gives you peace of mind for 3 years.
Cons: Some women have reported serious side effects such as mood swings, baldness/hair loss, loss of libido, and weight gain.

Can it be purchased over the counter at pharmacies? No.

Price: As low as RM500 at government medical facilities, and RM800-RM900 at private facilities, lasts for 3 years

Recommended place: Any Klinik Nur Sejahtera near you (full list of their prices here), or Dr. Zaharuddin KL Gynaecologist @ Sunway Medical Centre
 

“For any long term contraceptive, you really should talk to your doctor. Some women’s bodies, like mine, cannot take anything! We have been planning using my cycle calendar, and I just had my second baby 2 years ago,” - Ms Devi Kumar*

 

3. The Contraceptive Injection



What is it?
An injection of synthetic progestin into your body, commonly referred to by its famous brand name, Depo-Provera. Like the implant, the hormones work the same way - by preventing the production of ovum, thickening the cervical mucus, and thinning the uterus lining.

Likewise, this method is suggested for women who cannot take estrogen, or are always forgetful with the pills. This is also for women who are not okay with having a strange object in their body.

Pros: 96% effective, some women reported not having any periods since injection (which many of us will consider a pro!)
Cons: You have to go to a clinic to get it every 3 months. Some people hate injections! Also, some women have reported side effects such as mood swings, anxiety, and weight gains.

Can it be purchased over the counter at pharmacies? No

Price: As low as RM18 per shot at government medical facilities, and RM80-RM90 per shot at private facilities, lasts for 3 months (which makes it 4 shots per year)

Recommended place: Klinik Kesihatan Malaysia (here, you only pay the RM1 registration fee, and your injection will be free!), OR Liew Clinic, 10 Boulevard
 

““I had some weight gain from the shots, but I'm not sure if I was stress eating or due to hormones! Hehe,” -Ms. Shanthini Gunosegran*



 

4. Intrauterine Device (IUD)



What is it?
A piece of string with a T-Shaped plastic device at its end that will be inserted into your uterus. The IUD has two different types: the copper one, and the hormonal one. Copper is a natural spermicidal! Copper ions react with sperm to slow down its movement and thus prevent it from passing the cervical mucus. Basically, the kryptonite of sperms. On the other hand, the hormonal IUD is wrapped with progestin and works the same way as the implants and injections mentioned in this list.

Pros: 99% effective. The device can be removed when you are ready to have a baby.
Cons: Insertions may be painful. Upfront payment is high, and there is a risk of the IUD slipping out of your uterus. This means you will have to check for its dangling string, just like how you do tampons, once in a month to make sure it is still attached.

Can it be purchased over the counter at pharmacies? No.

Price: For copper IUD, it is below RM80 to RM110 at government medical facilities, and up to RM600 at private facilities, lasting for 3 to 5 years. For hormonal IUD, it is as high as RM1200 at private facilities, lasting for 5 years

Recommended place: Klinik Kesihatan Malaysia/ Klinik Kesihatan Ibu dan Anak charges you only RM1 for each check up/registration! OR Dr Tan and Partners clinics.

 

5. Emergency Contraception Pill (The ‘Morning After’ Pill)


Not a Plan B you should always turn to.

What is it?
Imagine the birth control pills, but 30x stronger. This is an emergency pill that you can take the morning after an “oops”, and the faster you take it, the better. The pill works only if taken within 72 hours from unprotected sex, where the hormones speedily prevent ovulation, so no fertilisation can happen. 

Pros: 90% if taken within 72 hours
Cons: This pill serves only as an emergency method and should not be taken regularly. The amount of hormone in it is meant to disrupt your menstrual cycle and can cause serious complications if consumed too much. Common side effects of normal use include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and headache. Rare side effects include fatigue, breast tenderness and menstrual bleeding disturbance.

Can it be purchased over the counter at pharmacies? Yes

Price: RM5 to RM20, common brands are Postinor-2, Escapelle, Ella

Recommended place: Any pharmacies near you

 

6. Contraceptive Ring


If you don’t want it, then you should really put a ring on it.

What is it?
Also called the vaginal ring, it is a soft transparent plastic ring about 4mm thick and 5.5mm in diameter that is placed inside the vagina for 21 days at a time. There is only one size. The ring releases both estrogen and progesterone and is placed up in the vagina where it releases these hormones slowly. After 3 weeks, the ring will be removed for 7 days so that you can have your normal period.

Pros: 99% if used and replaced as scheduled, easy to use, can regulate periods
Cons: As it contains the same hormones as the pills, they share the same side effects. The ring will unlikely move during intercourse, but if it is, it must be inserted back within 3 hours to prevent pregnancy.

Can it be purchased over the counter at pharmacies? No

Price: RM40-RM60, common brand such as NuvaRing

Recommended place: Any private hospitals or women’s clinics near you.

 

7. Diaphragm



What is it?
The diaphragm is a dome-shaped disc made from latex rubber or silicone, inserted into the vagina only during sexual intercourse. Basically, a female condom. The only difference is that it must be used with a spermicide, the sperm kryptonite we mentioned before. Spermicide comes in various forms: pastes, foams, films, and more. You need to insert this along with the diaphragm between 5 to 90 minutes before you have sex.

Pros: Very cheap, and only needed when you are having intercourse. No additional hormones disrupt your body’s natural production.
Cons: Only 88% effective, and cannot work on its own. Must stay in the vagina for at least 6 hours after intercourse. Latex and spermicide can also cause irritation for most women.

Can it be purchased over the counter at pharmacies? No.

Price: As cheap as RM3 per piece

Recommended place: Any women’s health clinic near you, or get it for free from the Federation of Reproductive Health Association Malaysia.

 

8. Sterilisation



What is it?
Basically, a surgery that involves permanently sterilising the female reproductive organs. The procedure is called tubal ligation, where your fallopian tubes will be cut, sealed, and tied up to prevent your ovaries from travelling out. This is the only permanent contraceptive method available and is recommended for women who are absolutely sure of not wanting pregnancies anymore, or at all. Of course, you can reverse the process, by opening the seal and letting your tubes grow back.

Pros: 99.5% effective (there is a 0.5% chance that your tubes can grow back and join together. God’s creation is super amazing.)
Cons: It is basically a surgery, and you will suffer the usual post-surgery side effects such as stomach pain, shoulder pain, fatigue, dizziness, or bloating. You will also have to rest and keep your surgical wounds clean and dry for at least 48 hours.

Can it be purchased over the counter at pharmacies? No.

Price: RM1500 to RM2000

Recommended place: Any private clinics or hospitals

 

For many of you, the price may be the determining factor, but no matter what you choose to try, we strongly recommend that you talk to your doctor for further advice. 

Please take note also that the birth control hormones mentioned above do carry the risk of blood clot (a very, very, low risk, affecting only 3-9 women out of 10,000), especially if you are over 35 and a smoker. All in all, we hope you do find the best No Baby method for yourself and have a great non-pregnancy with this MCO!

SIDE NOTE: Please note that government clinics may ask you more questions if you are an unmarried Muslim woman looking for contraceptives, even if they will not turn you away. If you are uncomfortable with that, we recommend that you head straight to a private clinic instead.


*The above article is intended for informational purposes only. Loanstreet accepts no responsibility for loss that may arise from reliance on information contained in the articles.


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