Ultimate Guide on Contraceptives Available

Men and women both have more birth control options than ever before. This means there’s a lot more to choose from. Sadly, not all birth control methods have been created equal, which is why you need all the information you can get, so that you are able to make a more informed decision. The following lines are going to be about the various birth control options that are available today.

The Pill

This method is by far, the most common option for contraception. This is a hormonal contraceptive, which basically means, it has both an estrogen hormone and the progestin hormone. The pill works by stopping ovulation in women, with the only drawback being that it needs to be taken every day, which is difficult to remember for some women. With a 1% failure rate, according to research, the pill is an easy way to keep unwanted pregnancies at bay, but only if taken regularly. There are many brands of birth control pills available in the market. These pills are available in a combination of estrogen and progestin, or just progestin.

It should be noted that although women on hormonal birth control normally bleed every fourth week, that’s not to be considered as a period, because it is a result of the shedding of the uterine lining. This lining does not completely thicken, thus an egg is not released.

Spermicides

Spermicides come in the form of tablets, foams, creams, jelly, dissolvable film and suppositories.Spermicides contain the chemical, nonoxynol-9, which destroys the sperm, which prevents them from entering and fertilizing the egg. While spermicides can be used along, they are more effective when paired with another form of birth control. The only downside to using a spermicide is that recent studies show spermicides do not prevent STDs, in fact, frequent use of spermicides can increase the chances of getting a sexually transmitted disease.

If you do want to use a spermicide once in a while, it’s best to use it alongside another pregnancy prevention method. Condoms and spermicides go together like butter and mash potatoes, and there are several brands and types available at the drugstore.

The condom (for Men)

Condoms remain to be a mainstay for birth control, mainly because they are the only option that prevents a pregnancy along with the transmission of infections or disease. While there are both male and female condoms available in the market today, male condoms are more popular. Condoms are inexpensive and provide the best protection against pregnancies and STDs.

The Female Condom

The female condom is a thin plastic pouch that lines the vagina. It can be placed up to 8 hours before sex. It should be noted that even with using the female condom, 21% of users still do get pregnant. FYI: It’s also a bit noisy.

Diaphragms

A diaphragm is a flexible cup that is placed into the vagina and blocks sperm from entering the uterus. It is one of the most effective forms of spermicide, but the diaphragm will have to be fitted by a doctor and will need to be replaced every year. It will also need to be examined occasionally by a doctor. A diaphragm has been known to cause toxic shock syndrome so it should be removed before 24 hours.

A Cervical Cap

Similar to a diaphragm, a cervical cap will also have to be fitted by a doctor or healthcare professional. It is placed in the vagina, where it prevents the sperm from entering the cervix. A cervical cap needs to be replaced every year. A cervical cap has also been known to cause toxic shock syndrome and should be removed before 48 hours.

The Sponge

The sponge is an over-the-counter product that is also helpful as a pregnancy prevention. It is a soft foam that is coated with a spermicide. The sponge looks more like a donut and covers the entire cervix when inserted in the vagina.

The Patch

Like the pill, the patch is also a method of contraception and contains estrogen and progestin.But, unlike the pill, it is not required to use the patch on a daily basis. The patch is basically a small piece of plastic that sticks to the arm, torso, or stomach and can be replaced every week. It should be noted that the patch could cause skin irritation in some women.

The Ring

The ring is a small device that is placed inside the vagina and can be left for up to three weeks but is taken out after one week to make it easier to have a period. Similar to the patch, the ring is also considered to be a more convenient method of contraception as compared to the pill. Both the patch and the ring should not be used if the user has been predisposed to blood clots or has high blood pressure. Additional side effects of the ring include vaginal irritation and discharge.

Hormone Shots

A hormone shot can provide contraceptive effects for up to three months at a time. Hormone shots are basically a shot of progestin in the arm of the woman that blocks ovulation. It releases cervical mucus which blocks the sperm from traveling to the uterus. You will have to go to the doctor to get the hormone shots. One side effect of the hormone shots is that prolonged use could lead to lower bone density, so a bone density test will be taken before the doctor undergoes the procedure.

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

IUDs come in two types, hormonal and copper IUD, which are inserted into the uterus. A hormonal IUD can last for up to 5 years and is considered to be a highly effective contraceptive. It also helps cut down menstrual bleeding. Women who do not wish to use hormones, can go for the copper IUD. A copper IUDis considered to be an emergency contraceptive since it can be inserted after five days of having unprotected intercourse and will still have a highly effective contraceptive effect. Both types however, can lead to possible cramping.

Hormone Implants

A hormone implant is a piece of plastic that is inserted under the skin of the upper arm and can prevent a woman from getting pregnant for up to three years. The piece of plastic is about the same size as a matchstick and contains a progestin. The benefit of using a hormone implant is that you won’t have to worry about getting pregnant for the next three years. Possible irregular bleeding may occur in some women throughout the year. Estrogen is given to those women to counteract the bleeding.

Natural Methods

Natural methods of contraception involves keen observation. For instance, one shouldn’t have intercourse while the woman is ovulating. A woman releases an egg around 14 days before she begins her menstruation cycle. This is where the calendar rhythm is used to prevent pregnancy. You can also consult with your doctor for more information regarding the calendar rhythm method.

Another method of natural contraception is by taking the basal body temperature. According to studies, a woman’s body temperature drops 12 to 24 hours before an egg is released from her ovary. While the difference in temperature is not large, it can be used as a natural contraceptive method.

Vasectomy

Getting a vasectomy is a more permanent method of birth control and is not reversible. Contrary to popular belief, both men and women can get a vasectomy. But, in women it is called ‘tubal ligation’. That said, a vasectomy is more common in men. During the surgical procedure, the tubes that carry the sperm up to the testicles are cut and tied. While men are still able to produce semen after the vasectomy, the sperm is not present, as a result, the woman’s eggs are not fertilized.

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