What is Reproductive Health?
Reproductive health comprises sexual and reproductive health. It is necessary to have a safe and satisfying sex life and an environment suitable for birth in order for a woman to deliver without stress.
In addition, women themselves must have the freedom to plan their life and decide whether to give birth or not, including when and how many times they want to get pregnant. Hence, it is called the "Reproductive health & rights".
The term "reproductive health" involves "rights" and "health" of a person related to sex and reproduction. It also refers to the lifetime health of a woman, not limited to the age at which she can reproduce, but also encompasses a man's sexual and reproductive health, its roles and responsibilities.
There are multiple unwanted pregnancies due to peoples lack of right knowledge of sex, contraception, pregnancy and childbirth, both for themselves and for their sexual partners.
In fiscal 2018, the number of abortions carried out was 161,741.Although there is a downward trend, theres a 6.4 cases per 1000 population. Avoiding unwanted pregnancies is very important in reproductive health. To do so, it is necessary to ensure that everyone has access to information and services on safe, effective, inexpensive and easy-to-use contraceptive methods.
Birth control as protection for women and their body
There are a variety of contraceptive methods for both female and male, as well as methods to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Knowing the characteristics of each will help attain desired effect and find one that fits your body and lifestyle habits.
Low-dose pills (low-dose oral contraceptives, OC)
Suppresion of ovulation, prevention of implantation of fertilized egg is possible by intake of 2 types of female hormones medication (follicular hormone, luteinizing hormone).
This makes it harder for sperm to enter the uterus, and its a method in which women can perform independently. You can expect a high contraceptive effect by proper intake of the medication. While it can be prescribed for improvement of menstrual irregularities and menstrual pain, it may not be used by smokers.
IUS (Intrauterine Contraceptive System)
The female hormone, luteinizing hormone is released from the plastic device attached to the uterus, making implantation of egg difficult. Installation and removal of IUS is performed at a medical institution. Once worn, the contraceptive is effective up to 5 years. There may be bleeding between menstrual periods for several months after implantation, but it eventually helps reduce menstrual bleeding and menstrual pain. In rare cases, it may come out naturally outside of the body. It is also suitable for people who have experience in childbirth.
IUD (Intrauterine contraceptive device)
The plastic device attached to the uterus prevents fertilization and implantation. There is also a type that releases copper ions with high contraceptive effect. Installation and removal of the device is performed at a medical institution.Once worn, the contraceptive effect lasts for 2-5 years.In rare cases, it may come out naturally outside of the body.This is also suitable for people who have experience in childbirth.
A thin rubber is placed over the penis to prevent semen from entering the vagina. It is important to choose the one that matches the size and to put it on from the beginning of a sexual intercourse. It is cheap and easy to obtain, and can also prevent sexually transmitted diseases. On the other hand, cooperation from the male side will be necessary.
Measurement of basal body temperature every morning. This is to predict the period of ovulation, which is the period to avoid sex.
It is good to know your menstrual cycle, but basal body temperature fluctuates due to changes in physical condition such as when one has a cold, it is difficult to predict the ovulation period. It is a contraceptive method that has a high risk of failure.
Undergoing surgery at a medical institution. For women, the fallopian tube is tied (or cut) with a thread. For men, the vas deferens are tied so that the egg and sperm can not pass through.There is a burden on the body due to surgery, this will decrease the chance of pregnancy. For women there is a higher risk for ectopic pregnancy.
|A contraception |
|Effectiveness in |
(low-dose oral contraceptives, OC)
|〇||×||0.3％（9％）||Prescription by a medical institution, Oral medications|
|IUS||〇||×||0.2％||Treatment at a medical institution|
|IUD||〇||×||0.6％||Treatment at a medical institution|
|Condom||×||〇||2％（18％）||Available at drugstores|
|Rhythm Method||△||×||0.4-0.5％（24％）||Thermometer available at drugstores and check body temperature|
|Sterilization||〇||×||Female 0.5％Male 0.10＆||Treatment at a medical institution|
※Please scroll horizontally to see it.
( ) Failure percentage: If you become pregnant despite using contraceptive methods. There may be cases such as forgetting to take a low-dose pill, tear or removal of condom.
For the failure rate of contraception, refer to Contractive Technology, 20 ed,.See Ardent Media, 2011 Table3-2.
Emergency contraceptive medicine (After pill) as a choice
No contraceptive method has a 100% contraceptive effect. If there is a possibility of pregnancy, such as when condom has come off, the use of emergency contraceptive medicine (after pill) is considered.
Also, using emergency contraceptives should be considered for cases of sexual intercourse without consent.
Emergency contraceptive medicine (After pill)
Intake of the medication within 72 hours (3 days) after sex suppresses ovulation or prevents fertilization. It is mainly composed of a female hormone called luteinizing hormone and is widely used all over the world for its safety and effectiveness.
In Japan, a doctor's prescription is required, and so immediate visit to a gynecology is necessary. In 2019, it prescription through online medical care was made possible. On the other hand, to obtain the medication more efficiently, citizens' demanded for "#availability of emergency contraceptives at pharmacies", and through this activists, a request letter to the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare was submitted in July 2020.
On the website of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, there is a list of obstetrics and gynecology medical institutions that can provide face-to-face medical care for emergency contraception.