Medical Commission gives advice on contraception at altitude

Mountain Medicine

The document, the latest part of a series of recommendation papers by the commission, is a valuable source of information for women going on expeditions, especially to altitude. It provides the most up-to-date information on the topic. (see “Advice and Recommendations” page).

A lot of women using contraceptives on expeditions, or at altitude, are doing so in order to control or regulate their menstruation cycle, and not just for contraceptive reasons. This document has been produced with both angles in mind.

The affects that travelling, altitude and other issues can have on both the menstruation cycle and contraception are highlighted in the article. Many forms of contraception are listed and details given in relation to their effectiveness, including controlling periods in extreme conditions.

Advice is given on the benefits and possible side affects of each kind that would help a woman decide what would best suit her, based on her situation. The duration of the expedition, preparation time and the reason for taking it all need to be considered when choosing a form of contraception. Any health risks or factors that should be taken into account are also discussed in the document.
Other issues are also mentioned, such as waste disposal and protection against STDs, which may need to be considered. The document is a guide and source of information and recommends that medical advice be sought from your own personal physician before an expedition.
The Medical Commission has also recently published many of its recommendation papers in German.
The UIAA Medical Commission was formed to give mountaineers reliable, up-to-date and easy to understand information on medical issues in the mountains. It is a global forum of doctors that gather information on all areas of mountain medicine and publish specific papers for mountaineers and interested parties..