It was about five years ago that emergency contraceptive pills became readily available in India. Now, doctors say that these pills are being used as frequently as morning tea, leading to severe health hazards.
Witnessing acute pain in the lower abdomen, Smita Aggarwal (second name changed) paid a visit to a Delhi hospital on a Monday morning. She was then informed by the doctor that it was due to her irregular menstrual cycle caused by the continuous misuse of the magic pills for the past 3 years.
“Cases of young girls complaining about disturbed menstrual cycle and fertility issues are alarmingly on the rise because of routine use of emergency contraceptives,” warns Dr Asha Sharma, head of Department Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Rockland Hospital.
Spring Dales Hospital’s Consultant Gynaecologist Dr Kriti Kumar says the warnings should be more resounding and well established.
"The advertisements need to carry a definite, bold warning that the emergency contraceptive pills, as the name suggests, is only meant for emergencies."
Doctors say that many users nevertheless believe strongly on references from their friends. They are unaware about the right time at which they should use these contraceptives.
Among the learned lot, confusion tends to prevail when asked about the basic difference between regular contraceptive pills and emergency contraceptive pills.
However, it must be noted that long-term effects of overdoing the “pill play” are still foggy. No wonder drug companies are laughing all the way to the bank. So, possibly they aren't informing us about the whole story – after all its side effects are not made public.
Regardless of the risks, many doctors would support ECPs because it prevents women from hazardous abortions.
They would sincerely suggest women use it with optimum knowledge and care.
The best solution is to empower people with the right information. Especially, the younger generation must be aware about the fact that morning-pills are not the be all and end all of protection against unwanted pregnancies, adds Dr Kumar.
The Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India, based in Mumbai, approximates that around 6 to 7 million abortions are performed in India on an annual basis and near about 20,000 women die of botched abortions. This figure may be understated since the cause of many deaths is not reported to the authorities.
No wonder drug companies are laughing all the way to the bank. So, possibly they aren't informing us about the whole story – after all its side effects are not made public.
In our research, a Delhi-based pharmacist told us that the young men, who were buying these ECPs, were informed about the health repercussions for their bed partners. This information is duly noted by them but the response is a shocker- “It is the girl’s headache how she handles it.”
That's true love for you!