196 chapter 9: Family planning
You should not use any hormonal
of family planning
• you have breast cancer.
Hormones are chemicals a woman’s body
normally makes (see page 72). The hormones
regulate many parts of a woman’s body,
including your monthly bleeding and ability
• you may be pregnant already.
• you have very heavy monthly bleeding or
monthly bleeding that lasts for more than
to become pregnant. This process is no
different in a woman with or without a disability. Hormonal methods of family
planning prevent pregnancy by stopping your ovaries from releasing eggs into your
womb. Hormonal methods do not protect against HIV/AIDS or other STIs.
Hormonal methods include:
• pills which a woman takes every day.
• injections, which are given every few months.
• implants, which are put into a woman’s arm and
last several years.
Most birth control pills and some injections contain 2 hormones similar to the
hormones a woman’s body normally makes. These hormones are called estrogen
(ethinyl estradiol), and progestin (levonorgestrel). Implants, some pills, and some
injections contain only progestin.
New hormonal methods are
still being invented. Some newer
methods are a contraceptive patch,
a ring (worn on the cervix), and a
hormonal IUD (see page 195).
You should not use any methods that contain
estrogen (you should use progestin-only methods) if:
• you cannot walk or have very limited movement in your
legs—unless you exercise regularly or are very active.
• you have epilepsy or take medicines for seizures.
• you have ever had a blood clot in the veins of your
Hormonal methods sometimes
have side effects. These effects
are not dangerous, but they are
legs or in your brain. Swollen veins in the legs
(varicose veins) are usually not a problem, unless they
are red and sore.
• you have hepatitis, or yellow skin and eyes.
• you have ever had signs of a stroke, paralysis, or heart
often uncomfortable. Hormonal
methods can make a woman have:
These effects usually lessen after a few months. If they do not,
the woman can try a different family planning method.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007