The Perceived Benefits and Barriers for Oral Contraceptive Use in Women Grouped for Physical-Activity
Introduction: The prevalence rate of oral contraceptives (OC) use in women varies greatly among women, potentially due to demographics including age, income and education. Little is currently known regarding the influence of physical-activity level on OC use and if the perceived benefits and barriers of OC use is affected by exercise levels.
Methods: Participants (n=125) were recruited via email and social media and grouped for weekly physical activity levels. Participants were distributed in to untrained women (UT; n=26), recreationally active (REC; n=44) and trained women (TR; n=55). Online survey software was used to inquiry about the OC practices and physicalactivity levels of Australian women. The survey included rankedresponse question regarding the perceived benefits and barriers of OC use, with the option of open ended response to provide explanation.
Results: The prevalence rates of OC use were 31%, 39%, and 47% for the UT, REC, and TR groups, respectively. Despite an apparent mean increase in prevalence with physical-activity level, there were no significant differences among the three groups (p>0.05). All women, regardless of physical-activity level reported birth control, cycle regularity and a reduction in menstrual symptoms as perceived benefits of taking OC. The perceived reasons for not taking OC were somewhat more diverse between the groups and included the introduction of exogenous hormones, weight gain, utilising alternative methods of birth control and the commitment habitually to take the medication.
Discussion /Conclusion: Results of the present study suggest physical-activity levels do not appear to play a direct role in OC use in the cross-section of female participants and does not influence the prevalence of use.