Other contraception methods
WHICH CONTRACEPTIVE METHOD WILL SUIT YOU?
There are different options available, with different benefits. It depends on your personal situation, which method suits you best.
- Pills / Oral contraceptives
- Male condoms
- Natural family planning
- Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
- Female barrier methods
- Implants and Injectables
- Lactational amenorrhea method
PILLS / ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES
The contraceptive pills are among the world’s most prescribed medications. Modern oral contraceptives contain very low doses of synthetic progestin and estrogen hormones (the „combined pills”). These pills (often called „Pill” or „birth control pills”) are very effective in preventing pregnancy when taken correctly at the same time every day. Effectiveness is more than 99% with perfect use. Their use does not interfere with intercourse. Pills are safe for most women; but some cardiovascular conditions, severe chronic conditions, and heavy smoking in women aged 35 and over, precludes use of the method. If you wish to get information about the availability or composition of hormonal contraceptives, the best source is your family doctor or gynecologist specialist, but you can also ask your pharmacist or search the internet for home pages similar to this one.
Most condoms are made of thin latex rubber; some are made of animal tissue or of polyurethane. Condoms come dry or lubricated with a water-based lubricant or spermicide. Condoms can be very effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly and consistently with every act of intercourse (perfect use); However, they are less effective with typical use. A scientific analysis of the male condom in preventing HIV suggests that their effectiveness at preventing HIV is 87 percent. Condoms do not affect breastfeeding and do not have hormonal side effects. There is no medical restriction for use of this method except allergy to latex. In addition to preventing pregnancy, latex condoms are effective in protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Male condoms may be less effective in protecting against those STIs that are transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, since the infected areas may not be covered by the condom.
In actual use, however, couples relying on condoms generally are not as successful at preventing unwanted pregnancy as users of many other methods. Evidence suggests that the individual —not the condom— is usually responsible for most condom failures and for inconsistent or incorrect use, and breakage due to improper use.
Pregnancy may occur if: you don’t put the condom on before intercourse starts the condom splits – unlikely if you handle it gently and avoid snagging it with rings, etc you use an oil-based lubricant, such as Vaseline, body oils, creams or lotions – this can make holes in latex condoms.
Male withdrawal, also called „pull-out method” or scientifically „coitus interruptus”, requires a man to withdraw his penis from his partner’s vagina prior to ejaculation. Withdrawal is typically a hazard game: the boy must be able to withdraw his penis even before getting to the top, correctly and consistently with every act of intercourse. It is not an optimal method, especially not for regular use, because withdrawal disturbs and reduces the joy of ejaculation for the male, and makes it more difficult for the woman to reach orgasm, if the intercourse is interrupted just near the top the excitement.
NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING
Natural family planning, also called „calendar method” or scientifically „periodic abstinence”, requires users to practice abstinence during the fertile period of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Clients using natural family planning may use one technique or a combination of techniques to identify the start and end of a woman’s fertile period. Natural family planning can be very effective when clients are properly trained and counseled and when they are motivated to avoid unprotected intercourse for a week or more each month. For other women, however, failure rates can be quite high. The method has no side effects.
INRATUTERINE DEVICES (IUDS)
Intrauterine devices are small flexible devices made of metal and/or plastic those prevent pregnancy when inserted into a woman’s uterus through her vagina. IUDs are a safe and effective method of reversible, long-term contraception for most women, especially women who have had babies. They can be also used as emergency contraceptive method. The word ‘intrauterine’ means ‘inside the womb’. Approximately 15 % of sexually active women —approximately 150 million women—currently use IUDs. Their popularity comes from their effectiveness combined with their long duration. The most widely used IUDs are copper-bearing IUDs. Inert (unmedicated) and progestin-releasing IUDs (levonorgestrel or progesterone) are less widely available. IUDs are not so easy to insert in young women who have not had children. Also, official advice is that young, sexually active women must be carefully screened for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) before having an IUD put in.
FEMALE BARRIER METHODS (DIAPHRAGM, CERVICAL CAP, FEMALE CONDOM, SPONGE)
Female barrier methods are contraceptives that a woman places in her vagina before sex to prevent pregnancy. Mechanical barriers are: diaphragm, cervical cap and female condom. Chemical barriers (spermicides) are mentioned under Spermicides. The contraceptive sponge is both a mechanical and chemical barrier.
Barrier methods are suited for a woman who finds using a method near or at the time of intercourse acceptable, can learn the insertion technique, and has sufficient privacy for insertion and removal. The methods can be very effective when used correctly and consistently. Typically, however, accidental pregnancy rates are high compared to many other methods; women for whom an accidental pregnancy would present a serious health concern should use a more effective method.
Barriers can provide important protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and can be used even if a partner refuses to use condoms.
The diaphragm is a latex device that covers the cervix and part of the vaginal wall, and is held in place by a flexible rim.
The cervical cap is a smaller rubber device that fits snugly around the cervix.
The female condom is a sheath made of thin, transparent, soft plastic that a woman inserts in her vagina before sex. It has two rings: a flexible removable ring at the closed end to aid with insertion, and a larger flexible ring that stays outside the vagina at the open end to help protect the external genitalia.
Contraceptive Sponge Natural sea sponges soaked in spermicide and inserted in the vagina before intercourse have been used throughout history for contraception. This method has been updated and reintroduced. Modern sponge means a small (polyurethane) foam sponge containing a kind of spermicide. The sponge creates a physical barrier between the semen and the cervix and traps the sperm in the sponge. It also acts as a chemical barrier by releasing spermicide. Three contraceptive sponges are currently available in some countries for contraception. The sponge provides protection for 12 to 24 hours.
Spermicides are chemical products inserted in a woman’s vagina before sex that inactivate or kill sperm. Spermicides are often used as a temporary method while waiting for a long-term method or by couples who have intercourse infrequently. Spermicides come in several different forms—cream, jelly (gels), melting suppository, foaming tablet, aerosol foam, and C-film. Some condoms also come lubricated with spermicide. When used alone, spermicides provide some contraceptive protection, but are best when used with a barrier method to prevent pregnancy.
IMPLANTS AND INJECTABLES
Contraceptive implants consist of hormone-filled capsules that are inserted under the skin in a woman’s upper arm. Injectable contraceptives contain synthetic hormones (similar to hormones used in pills) that are administered by deep intramuscular injection.
LACTATIONAL AMENORRHEA METHOD
Lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) is a natural family planning method that can be used by breastfeeding women. LAM is a very effective method if the woman has no periods, fully breastfeeding (does not give the infant supplementary food), and the baby is less than six months old. Effectiveness is 98–99% during the first 6 months after childbirth in fully breastfeeding women.
Female sterilization, also called tubal occlusion or ligation, is a permanent contraceptive method for women who do not want more children. The method requires a simple surgical procedure. The two most common female sterilization approaches are minilaparotomy, which is usually performed under local anesthesia with light sedation, and laparoscopy, which requires general anesthesia. Female sterilization does not affect breastfeeding or interfere with intercourse and it is free from the side effects associated with some temporary methods.
Male sterilization (vasectomy) is a permanent contraceptive method for men who do not want more children. It is a simple surgical procedure, performed under local anesthesia, done by cutting the vas deferens tubes between the testicles and the groin. This prevents the sperm from mixing with the semen by blocking the sperm ducts. Male sterilization is not castration; it does not affect the testicles. After vasectomy, men ejaculate almost the same amount of semen, but it does not contain sperms that are necessary for the fertilization of the egg. It doesn’t affect a man’s sexual ability or cause any changes in his sex drive.