Women's knowledge and sources of information on the risks and benefits of oral contraception.

Carla M. Picardo, Mark Nichols, Alison Edelman, Jeffrey T. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To assess the knowledge of the risks and benefits of oral contraceptives (OCs) in a heterogeneous group of women and to identify their sources of information. METHODS: A self-administered questionnaire assessing demographics, contraception history, knowledge of risks and benefits of OCs, and information sources was given to literate English- and Spanish-speaking women waiting for appointments at 4 clinics serving distinct populations in Portland, Oregon. RESULTS: Approximately half of the 211 women studied were of the opinion that OCs decreased the risk of acne, dysmenorrhea, and menorrhagia and increased the risk of weight gain, headaches, and thrombosis. Less than 15% knew of the decreased risk of anemia, endometrial cancer, colon cancer and pelvic inflammatory disease, but 28% understood the decreased risk of ovarian cancer. Seven percent to 36% of women used their own experiences in assessing the effect of OCs on a variety of general and reproductive factors. Women relied primarily on printed information for knowledge of OCs' effects on cardiovascular health and cancer. CONCLUSION: Women in this heterogeneous population of women were unaware of several benefits of OCs. Women relied heavily on their own experiences in assessing the risks and benefits of OCs. Women cited printed information more frequently than medical personnel as major sources of information on cardiovascular and oncological risks and benefits of OCs. The Internet, however, played a minimal, if any role in educating women about OCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-116
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Medical Women's Association (1972)
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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