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Background: The widespread use of hormonal contraceptives gives grounds for assessing their influence on various biochemical parameters of the human system since its safety has become controversial. This study assessed the effects of hormonal contraceptives on haematological parameters among users in the Cape Coast Metropolis.
Materials and Methods: A simple randomized case-control study approach was used to recruit 94 healthy women of which 54 were hormonal contraceptive users and 40 healthy age-matched non-contraceptive users served as controls. Venous blood samples were taken for full blood count (FBC) analyses using an automated haematology analyser. Data was analysed using SPSS (V.22.0). Data was expressed in means (Mean ±SD) for the different variables. T-test statistic was used to compare the mean scores of two groups whilst one-way ANOVA was used to compare more than two groups. Pearson correlation was used to determine association between the various parameters. P-value <0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: The study observed mean red blood cell (RBC) count to be significantly higher among hormonal contraceptive users compared to non-users (P=0.030). Additionally, the duration of contraceptive usage had an influence on the blood cell parameters in various ways, with a significant negative correlation between duration of contraceptive use and red cell distribution width (RDW) (r= -0.303, P= 0.026).
Conclusion and Recommendation: Hormonal contraceptives cause significant increase in red blood cell (RBC) count among users. Its effects also depend largely on duration of contraceptive use. The main limitation to this study was that blood films were not prepared to confirm the results the haematology analyser, hence study is recommended with the incorporation of blood films.
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