Effects of combined hormonal contraception on health and wellbeing: Women's knowledge in northern Italy

Rossella E. Nappi, Alice Pellegrinelli, Federica Campolo, Gabriele Lanzo, Valentina Santamaria, Alessandro Suragna, Arsenio Spinillo, Chiara Benedetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives We investigated levels of knowledge of the effects of combined hormonal contraceptives (CHCs) on general/reproductive health and physical/psychosexual wellbeing. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted in two university hospitals in northern Italy. Healthy current-, past- and never CHC users (n = 545; age 18-44 years) completed a self-administered questionnaire. Results Ninety-three percent of current-, 74% of past-, and 56% of never users believed they were sufficiently informed (χ2: 67.1; p = 0.001) about the benefits and risks of CHCs. Respondents mentioned: (i) a reduced risk of ovarian (67%) and endometrial (53%) cancer; (ii) an increased risk of thrombosis (82%); (iii) an increased risk of breast cancer (45%); (iv) a decreased fertility (19%) and no influence on risk of sexually transmitted infections (48%); (v) a reduced risk of menstrual abnormalities (77%) and acne (79%); (vi) less dysmenorrhoea (83%) and more headache (56%), weight gain (74%), increased appetite (51%), leg cramps (77%), mood swings (45%), vaginal dryness (47%), and low sex drive (48%). Beliefs about diseases/conditions and symptoms were influenced by CHC use. Conclusions CHC use is linked to good knowledge of risks and benefits. Our data suggest HCPs must be proactive in providing relevant information so that women can choose their contraception with a balanced insight of side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-46
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2015

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Keywords

  • Combined hormonal contraceptives
  • Knowledge
  • Northern Italy
  • Risk
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Medicine(all)

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