5 Methods Of Contraception, What To Use And When!
When you are getting down, the last thing on your mind is how to avoid a pregnancy. Unless you are trying to get pregnant, in which case, there’s nothing to think about. But, the reasons for using contraceptives are endless, whether it is to not have children, medical conditions, social concerns, or personal desires. There are a variety of contraceptives which can all get very confusing. I mean, you are trying NOT to get fertilised, not launch a rocket. You also want something that won’t meddle with the pleasure bit of it. Making the best choice for yourself depends on how they work, your habits, how your body reacts to it, or simply just your preferences. There are several different methods of contraception, so read on to find out everything about contraception.
1. Hormonal contraception
While it sounds very complicated, this one is perhaps the easiest. This method prevents an egg from being released every month. This is one of the most common ones and comes in a variety of forms. They all contain synthetic hormones which prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg each month. It also keeps the cervical mucus thick so that the sperm cannot pass through it easily. Yes, quite smart, this. None of these methods will protect you from STI’s, though.
Pills – There are two types of pills- one which is combined oral contraceptive pill and one which is progestogen-only contraceptive pill. You take one pill each day at the same time, so set an alarm on your phone for it since you cant be late by more than three hours.
Patch – A contraceptive patch is just like the pill, but you wear the patch for three weeks and take it off for one week. It has the same effective protection against pregnancy but in rare cases it can cause skin irritation. This option is great if you’re going to forget to take pills and not be consistent with it.
Injections – Injectable contraceptives have a effect lasting for 8 to 12 weeks. It is a non-reversible process where you will be infertile for 3 months no matter what. A shot of hormones has to be taken every three months in order to get 99% protection from pregnancy.
Ring – A vaginal contraceptive ring is a small transparent plastic ring that is inserted in the vagina. It has to be kept there for three weeks. It contains the same hormones as the pills which are released into the body in a timely manner.
2. Barrier methods
This is the second most common form of contraceptive is the barrier method which physically blocks the sperm from reaching the egg. This includes male condoms, female condoms, and diaphragm. Basically, these are sperm blocks.
The Male Condom – This is the most common one of the lot and it is easy to use, affordable and offers the best protection against STI’s. It is made of latex and are compatible with lubricant but you have to make sure that you don’t reuse them after one use. Argh, please don’t be cheap.
The Female Condom – Female condoms are inserted into the vagina upto 8 hours before sex. So if you know you are going to be getting jiggy with it, put it on. They are a bit more expensive than the male condoms though. But hey, they are less likely to burst, so that’s something.
The Diaphragm – It is placed inside the vagina at least six hours before sex so that it prevents the sperm from getting into the uterus. It needs to be removed after 24 hours for cleaning, and depending on the material and type, it can be reused many times.
3. Long acting reversible contraception
Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) is a contraceptive that lasts for a long time like the IUD and the implant.
Intra-uterine device (IUD) – It that lasts for five to ten years. There are two types of IUD’s – hormonal and copper- that you can keep inside the vagina for up to 5 or more years. This doesn’t protect against STI’s . This can even be used as an emergency contraceptive if it is inserted, by a doctor, within 5 days of unprotected sex.
Implant – It lasts for three or five years. Just like IUDs, the implant does not protect against STIs. The contraceptive implant contains progestin (progesterone), the same hormone as the contraceptive pill. The hormone is released into your body at a steady, slow pace for three years, producing the same effects as the pill. The implant is inserted by a doctor and it must be removed after three years.
4. Permanent contraception
This method is used for blocking the reproductive function in men or women. Sterilization is an option available to both men and women. For males, this procedure is called vasectomy and it consists of tying off and cutting the tubes that carry sperm. The effects of this procedure are for life. For females, sterilization can be surgical or non-surgical.
Surgical sterilisation requires very small cuts in the belly to access the fallopian tubes. They are then cut and tied so they do not provide a passage from the ovaries to the uterus any more. The effects are permanent so you must be sure of your choice.
Non-surgical sterilisation consists of placing a coil in each fallopian tube – through the vagina and uterus – so that scars appear and eventually block each tube completely. The scars may take up to 3 months to completely block the tubes, so you need to use another method of contraception in the meantime.
5. Emergency contraception
If you have been going at it and may have been a little careless, this is the one you need. Also, you need to stop doing this careless thing. The emergency contraception pill is approved to be taken up three days after unprotected sex. It is mainly used when you haven’t used proper protection, have been forced to have sex without contraception, or if any of the above mentioned contraception methods have failed. This should definitely not be your first choice since it had adverse side effects. It is particularly useful if a condom broke or if you missed one of your contraceptive pills.
Last but not the least is the natural way of avoiding pregnancy. This relies on knowing your menstrual cycle so that couple avoid having sex when the women is fertile.