The use and impact of contraceptives in women: a critical review


  • Success C. David Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria
  • Shadrach C. Eze Department of Pharmacy, Federal Medical Centre, Hospital Road, Makurdi Benue State, Nigeria
  • Catherine C. Eleje Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria
  • Evaristus C. Odoh Department of Pharmacy, Federal Medical Centre, Suleja-Lapai-Bida Road, Bida Niger State Nigeria
  • Faith O. Omotayo Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria Department of Public and Community Health Science, University of the People, California, USA
  • Onyinyechi L. Kalu Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria
  • Cynthia C. Eze Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria



Oral contraceptive, Quality of life, Contraception, Research, Review


Around 40% of the 210 million human conceptions occurring globally each year are unplanned. Contraception involving the use of devices, medications, and sexual techniques have been the bail out. This has empowered women to make positive decisions about their life and sexual health. Various methods of contraception in use today include the barrier method, the fertility awareness method, hormonal method and permanent contraception. In the United States and in most parts of the world, oral contraceptives (OC) have been the most used contraceptive method. Their use however comes with its pros and cons. OC failure is already an issue of concern in the reproductive health of women. More serious concerns are the impact of the use of these OC's on the woman's quality of life. Women all over the world are becoming increasingly conscious of the ability of OC to either aid or interfere with their health and overall well being. There is paucity of data in recent times looking critically at how OC has been a factor in altering the quality of life of women. Hence this review highlights contraceptive preferences of women, Success and failures of OC use, perception of women towards OC and how the use of OC has impacted their quality of life. Overall, contraceptives have a positive impact on the quality of life of women due to many other benefits it offers apart from contraception including relief of menstrual blood loss, dys-menorrhea, and premenstrual syndrome.


Metrics Loading ...


Alldredge BK, Corelli RL, Ernst ME, Guglielmo BJ, Jacobson PA, Kradjan WA, et al. Contraception. Koda-Kimble and Young’s Applied Therapeutics: The Clinical Use of Drugs; 2012:1067-8.

Worldometer. Fact sheet: Nigeria population, 2022. Available at: Accessed on 29 September 2022.

Very well health. Fact sheet: An overview of birth control. Available at: https://www.verywellhealth. com/birth-control-4014756. Accessed on 29 September 2022.

MSD manual. Fact sheet: Overview of contraception - women’s health issues. Available at: Accessed on 29 September 2022.

WHO. Fact sheet: Contraception. Available at: Accessed on 29 September 2022.

Fotso JC, Cleland J, Mberu B, Mutua M, Elungata P. Birth spacing and child mortality: An analysis of prospective data from the Nairobi urban health and demographic surveillance system. J Biosoc Sci. 2013;45(6):779-98.

Roach REJ, Helmerhorst FM, Lijfering WM, Stijnen T, Algra A, Dekkers OM. Combined oral contraceptives: the risk of myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley and Sons Ltd.; 2015.

Grevers X, Grundy A, Poirier AE, Khandwala F, Feldman M, Friedenreich CM, et al. Cancer incidence attributable to the use of oral contraceptives and hormone therapy in Alberta in 2012. C Open. 2016;4(4):754-9.

Peck R, Norris CW. Significant risks of oral contraceptives (OCPs): why this drug class should Not be included in a preventive care mandate. Linacre Q. 2012;79(1):41-56.

ACOG. Fact sheet: Barrier methods of birth control: spermicide, condom, sponge, diaphragm, and cervical cap. Available at: Accessed on 29 September 2022.

Healthline. Fact sheet: Birth control: rhythm method or fertility awareness. Available at: Accessed on 29 September 2022.

NHS. Fact sheet: Natural family planning (fertility awareness). Available at: Accessed on 29 September 2022.

ACOG. Fact sheet: Fertility awareness-based methods of family planning. Available at: Accessed on 29 September 2022.

Contraception: Hormonal contraceptives. 2017 Jun 29;

Stoddard A, McNicholas C, Peipert JF. Efficacy and safety of long-acting reversible contraception. Drugs. 2011;71(8):969-80.

Fleur. Fact sheet: 10 common birth control pill side effects. Available at: Accessed on 29 September 2022.

Mirena®, Liletta (Hormonal IUD) [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jun 19]. Available from:®-liletta-hormonal-iud

Glasier A, Cameron ST, Blithe D, Scherrer B, Mathe H, Levy D, et al. Can we identify women at risk of pregnancy despite using emergency contraception? Data from randomized trials of ulipristal acetate and levonorgestrel. Contraception. 2011;84(4):363-7.

Festin MPR, Peregoudov A, Seuc A, Kiarie J, Temmerman M. Effect of BMI and body weight on pregnancy rates with LNG as emergency contraception: analysis of four WHO HRP studies. Contraception. 2017;95(1):50-4.

New Zealand family planning. Fact sheet: Contraception methods-family planning. Available at: Accessed on 29 September 2022.

WebMD. Fact sheet: Permanent birth control: pressure, tubal ligation and vasectomy. Available at: Accessed on 29 September 2022.

Nelson AL, Cohen S, Galitsky A, Hathaway M, Kappus D, Kerolous M, et al. Women’s perceptions and treatment patterns related to contraception: results of a survey of US women. Sci Direct. 2018;97(3):256-73.

Katherine H, Dalton VK, Zochowski MK, Hall KS. Women’s contraceptive preference-use mismatch. J Women Health (Larchmt). 2017;26(6):692-701.

United Nations: Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Contraceptive Use by Method 2019: Data Booklet. New York: United Nations; 2019.

Guha B, Ray P, Ghosh S, Mitra A, Bandopadhay AK, Sen S. Choice of oral contraception among urban women in Eastern India: a prospective observational study. JMSCR. 2017;5(11).

Bamniya J, Patel D, Singh P, Chakravarti N. A study of knowledge, awareness, and acceptance of contraception among reproductive age women at tertiary care hospital, Ahmedabad. Int J Reproduct Contracept Obstetr Gyneacol. 2022;11(1):206-11.

Fischbein RL, Lanese BG, Falletta L, Hamilton K, Kina JA. Pregnant or recently pregnant opioid users: contraception decisions, perceptions and preferences. Contracept Reproduct Med. 2018;3(1):1-9.

Jacek Tomaszewski, Tomasz Paszkowski, Romuald Debski, Jan Kotarski, Violetta Skrzypulec-Plinta, Robert Z Spaczy`nski, Leszek Pawelczyk.

Aldabbagh RO, Al-Qazaz HK. Knowledge and practice of contraception use among females of child-bearing age in Mosul, Iraq. Int J Womens Health. 2020;12:107-13.

Irala JD, Osorio A, Carlos S, Burgo C. Choice of birth control methods among European women and the role of partners and providers. Sci Direct. 2011;84(6):558-64.

Ayorinde AA, Boardman F, McGranahan M. Enabling women to access preferred methods of contraception: a rapid review and behavioural analysis. BMC Pub Health. 2021;21:2176.

Onah HE. Contraception and estrogen replacement therapy. In: Aguwa CN, eds. Therapeutic basis of clinical pharmacy in the tropics. 4th ed. Enugu Nigeria: Snaap Press Ltd.; 2012: 45-69.

Leelakanok N, Methaneethorn J. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the adverse effects of levonorgestrel emergency oral contraceptive. Clinical Drug Invest 2020;40(5):395-420.

Sharma P, Solanki J, Choudhary R, Jitendra K, Privanka M, Shah. Impact of oral contraceptives on periodontal health. Afr Health Sci. 2019;19(1):1795-800.

Mosher WD, Martinez GM, Chandra A, Abma JC, Willson SJ. Use of contraception and use of family planning services in the United States: 1982-2002. Center for Disease Control: Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics. 2004: 350.

Abazari F, Arab M, Abbasszadeh A. Relationship of unwanted pregnancy and fertility behavior in pregnant women who visited maternity wards of Kerman hospitals (Persian). J Reprod Infertil. 2003;4(1):39-46.

Singh S, Darroch JE, Ashford LS. Adding it up: the costs and benefits of investing in sexual and reproductive health. New York: Guttmacher Institute; 2014.

Ali MM, Cleland J, Shah I. Causes and consequences of contraceptive discontinuation: evidence from 60 demographic and health surveys. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2012.

Dinger JC. Oral contraceptive effectiveness according to body mass index, weight, age, and other factors. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009;201:263.

Roshni K, Lia L, Anita L. Women’s perceptions of contraceptive efficacy and safety. Contracept Reproduct Med. 2017;2(19).

Melda K, Sanda C, Sibel K, Dilsad C. Attitudes of married individuals towards oral contraceptives: a qualitative study in Istanbul, Turkey. J Fam Plan Reproduct Health Care. 2004:30(2).

Gothwal M, Tak A, Aggarwal L, Singh A, Singh P, Yadav. A study of knowledge, attitude, and practice of contraception among nursing staff in All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jodhpur, Rajasthan. J Fam Med Primary Care. 2020;2(706).

Sanaa K, Amal A, Maria-Vanessa Z. Current knowledge, attitude, and patterns of oral contraceptives utilization among women in Jordan. BMC Women Health. 2015;15(117).

Katama S, Hibstu D. Knowledge, attitude and practice of contraceptive use among female students of dilla secondary and preparatory school, Dilla Town, South Ethiopia. Healthcare low-resource settings. HLS. 2016;4(1).

Bastianelli C, Farris M. Benagiano G. Use of the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system, quality of life and sexuality. Experience in an Italian family planning center. Contraception. 2011;84(4):402-8.

Caruso S, Malandrino C, Cicero C, Ciancio F, Cariola M, Cianci A. Quality of sexual life of women on oral contraceptive continued-regimen: pilot study. J Sex Med. 2013;10:460-6.

Goodwin PJ, Black JT, Bordeleau LJ, Ganz PA. Health-related quality-of-life measurement in randomized clinical trials in breast cancer - Taking stock. J National Cancer Institut. 2003;95:263-81.

Donaldson MS. Taking stock of health-related quality-of-life measurement in oncology practice in the United States. J National Cancer Institut Monograph. 2004:155-67.

Hatcher RA, Trussell J, Nelson AL, Cates W, Stewart FH, Kowal D. Contraceptive technology. 19th ed. New York: Ardent Media Inc.; 2007.

Lopez LM, Kaptein AA, Helmerhorst FM. Oral contraceptives containing drospirenone for premenstrual syndrome. Coch Database Systemat Rev. 2012;2:006586.

Hillard PA. Menstrual suppression: current perspectives. Int J Womens Health. 2014;6:631-7.

Gold MR, Siegel JE, Russell LB, Weinstein MC. Cost-effectiveness in health and medicine. New York: Oxford University Press; 1996.

Al-Batanony MA, AL-Nohair SF. Prevalence of premenstrual syndrome and its impact on quality of life among university medical students, Al Qassim University, KSA. Public Health Res. 2014;4(1):6.

Bakhshani NM, Hosseinbor M, Shahraki Z, Sakhavar N. Premenstrual syndrome symptomatology among married women of fertile age based on methods of contraception (hormonal versus non-hormonal methods of contraception). Glob J Health Sci. 2014;6(2):105-11.

WHO. Progress in reproductive health research. Available at: Accessed on 30 September 2022.

Li RH, Lo SS, Teh DK, Tong NC, Tsui MH, Cheung KB, et al. Impact of common contraceptive methods on quality of life and sexual function in Hong Kong Chinese women. Contraception. 2004;70(6):474-82.

Leon-Larios F, Vazquez-Valeo CG, Sanchez-Sanchez A. Health-related quality of life in undergraduate women using any contraceptive. Health Qual Life Outcome. 2019;17:90.

Zhao J, Li Y, Wu Y. Impact of different contraceptive methods on quality of life in rural women of the Jiangsu province in China. Contraception. 2009;80:180-6.

Zetharaeus N, Dreber A, Ranehill E, Blomberg L, Labrie F, Shoultz V, et al. A first-choice combined oral contraceptive influences general well-being in healthy women: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Fertil Steril. 2017;107(5):1238-45.

Salam TO, Mosuro OA, Muyibi SA, Adetunji AA. Contraceptive use and quality of life among women of reproductive age, attending a general outpatient clinic in a Nigerian tertiary hospital Int J Reprod Contracept Obstet Gynecol. 2020;9(7):2932-293.






Review Articles