An Afternoon of Women Empowerment and “Girl Talk” about Contraception Misconceptions

If there’s one thing I love doing and fond of attending it is something to do with women empowerment. Aside from the learning and knowledge that I would surely get, it is refreshing, motivating and inspiring that never to fail me to achieve and do more to also inspires and empowers other women. Well, it is always empowering to empowers others.

Meanwhile, I recently attended an event brought by Bayer Philippines, that tackled a delicate matter that often, us, ladies are ashamed to talk about. It is all about breaking the barriers and misconceptions to sustain acceptance and utilization about modern contraception. I was amazed though on how Via Antonio and Dr. Amity Casurao-Trono put the topic into light conversation and yet straightforward, fun and engaging way that they’re able to conveyed the message clearly.

As the government intensifies the implementation of its family planning program in the next four years, much more needs to be done to educate Filipinos about the importance of reproductive health and to correct the misconceptions about modern contraception. Despite the availability and accessibility of different types of contraceptive methods, accelerating the acceptance and utilization is still hindered by misconceptions and lack of knowledge on modern contraception. “Following the launch of the first World Contraception Day Philippines in 2018, we want to continue the conversation to empower and educate Filipino women and couples to make informed choices about their reproductive and sexual health,” said JunIl Kim, Country Division Head, Bayer Pharmaceuticals.

Among the types of modern contraceptives, the pill, Intrauterine System (IUS), female sterilization, contraceptive patch and injection are the most effective types of interventions with ~99% efficacy, when administered correctly and used with 100% accuracy. However, male condom, fertility awareness trackers and withdrawal method remain to be the most commonly used with approximately 72-82% efficacy. The government has announced the implementation of an intensified family planning program nationwide targeting 11.3 million women over the next four years. This is to increase the usage of contraceptives among Filipinos from 40 percent to 65 percent.



A “Girls Got your Back” with Via Antonio

An actress and comedian, talked about her own experiences in pursuit of better reproductive and physical health, “In this day and age, reproductive health remains to be a taboo topic, even among women. Many are using contraception for various reasons yet no one is openly talking about it. The stigma on birth control is alive,” she said. On which, I very much agreed. At the end of the day, it is about “us” taking ourselves.

Ms. Via Antonio


“Pillow Talk” with Dr. Amity Casurao-Trono

Dr. Amity Casurao-Trono, Obstetrician and Gynecologist at St. Luke’s Medical Center Q.C and Rizal Medical Center, shed light on the myths and misconceptions about modern contraceptives during her “Pillowtalk” session. She also shares some facts supported by numbers during her lively and bubbly talk. Did you know that in 2018;

  • an estimated 25.8% or 7.1 million Filipinas aged 15-49, are using modern contraception, an increase of 1.2 million since 2012.
  • oral contraceptives or the pill remains to be one of the most effective and preferred form of modern contraception among Filipinas because they are convenient, non-invasive and reversible. It comes in two types: the combined oral contraceptive (COC) pill, which contains both progestin and estrogen hormones and the Mini Pill or progestin-only pill (POP).

Progestin is the main contraceptive ingredient that prevents ovulation, thins out the uterine lining and thickens cervical mucus such that sperm cannot pass through. Ethinyl estradiol, the synthetic female hormone, stabilizes the endometrium and enhances the action of progestin. Dr. Casurao-Trono clarified and put sense into the most prevalent myths about the use of COCs such as;

  • Pills do not cause birth defects: No adverse effects were observed when COCs were accidentally taken during early pregnancy. Past COC use is not associated with an increase in spontaneous abortions.
  • Pills do not increase cancer risk: Studies have not established strong and direct links between breast cancer and pill usage. In fact, the risk of cancer lowered with COC use. It reduces risks for certain cancers such as ovarian cancer (~40% lower), endometrial cancer (~50% lower) and colorectal cancer (~20% lower).However, it does not protect from sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Pills do not make you infertile: 21% of women get pregnant after one month of stopping taking COCs and 79% get pregnant after one year of stopping. 

Dr. Amity Casurao-Trono

Pills, depending on the formulation and indication, also treat a variety of hormone-related conditions and imbalances such as hyperandrogenism, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a severe and debilitating form of PMS. Over 88% of women receiving COCs report no adverse effects. Aside from preventing unintended pregnancies, selected COC pills offer added benefits beyond contraception such as reducing estrogen-related fluid retention and bloating because of its anti-mineralocorticoid property. It regulates hormonal problems such as acne, facial hair and hair loss due to its anti-androgenic quality. Some COC pills also come in a 24/4 regimen that promotes user compliance. Despite its additional benefits, OB-GYNs highly recommend women to go on a healthy diet and take regular exercise to achieve the desired results. Like any other medication, it comes with some common side effects such as nausea, breast tenderness and headache, which are tolerable.

She also reiterates that, “It’s time for women to take more active stance in taking control of their reproductive and sexual health. We should be able to normalize these discussions, without the fear of being shames or embarrassed.”

Bayer Philippines with Ms. Via and Dr. Amity

To learn more about contraception and reproductive health, visit www.Your-Life.com.



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