If you are sexually active, and you do not wish to get pregnant, then contraception is definitely something that you considered at one point in your life. In today’s world, there are a plethora of contraceptives available, and thus it could be confusing for people who’ve never had experience with contraceptives, to choose the ones that best suit their needs.
Although condoms are the only form of contraceptives that will protect you from STIs, there are many other forms designed to prevent unwanted pregnancies. No contraceptive is perfect, and there will always be some risks. Finding the method that best suits you, depends on your lifestyle, current health, medical history, and age. Below, you have some of the most common types of birth control methods.
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As far as birth-control goes, external condoms are the most common type of birth control. They are designed for male use, in the sense that they go over a penis during intercourse. Internal condoms are hormone-free, latex-free polyurethane pouches, which are designed for female use. Both greatly decrease the risk of STI transmission and pregnancy.
- Condoms are widely available and inexpensive.
- In sexual health clinics, both external and internal condoms are free.
- They are only used during sex.
- Condoms protect against STIs and pregnancy.
- They could slip off or break. If used with oil-based lubricants, they could be ineffective.
- It can be difficult to find internal condoms.
- There is a learning curve with internal condoms.
- Condoms do not protect from contracting genital warts.
Often called the birth control pills or just “the pill”, the combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP) is a type of birth control for women, designed to be taken orally. This is arguably the most common, as well as a contentious form of contraception. It is made of two synthetic versions of estrogen and progestogen, which are female hormones that are naturally produced.
- It can make periods more regular, less painful, and much lighter.
- It could help alleviate PMS symptoms. It could reduce the risk of uterine, ovarian, and colorectal cancer.
- Some brands of COCPs can help with acne.
- It helps with problems that are associated with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
- Side effects are headaches, mood changes, nausea, and breast tenderness (for the first few months) are quite common.
- It can increase the risk of cervical and breast cancer.
- It increases the risk of DVT, deep vein thrombosis (rare).
Diaphragms and Cervical caps
A diaphragm or cap is a barrier birth control; it is made from thin and soft latex or silicone, and they are very flexible. Cervical caps are a bit smaller than diaphragms and are made out of silicone. They are inserted in the vagina and sit at the base of the cervix, which then prevents sperm from entering. With typical use, they are about 71 – 88% effective.
- They only need to be used during sex.
- They can be inserted before sex (up to 6h)
- There are no serious side effects or health risks.
- Both of these barrier birth methods need to be used with spermicide, which can disrupt the vaginal microbiome.
- You will have to visit your doctor the first time, to see whether it fits currently because the size and shape can vary.
- They do not protect from STIs.
Permanent birth control options
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There are two permanent birth control methods; tubal ligation (for women) and vasectomy (for men). In most cases, a doctor will recommend the vasectomy procedure for most couples, as it has much lower rates of complications; costs less, and is a simpler procedure.
However, tubal ligation is still a rather reliable and safe method of sterilization for women. If you are interested, most Planned Parenthood health centers, hospitals, and health clinics, such as the vasectomy clinic in Sydney, perform vasectomies.
- After having the procedure, you do not have to think about contraception.
- Vasectomy does not require a surgical procedure, it is done under local anesthetics.
- Women who’ve had their tubes tied still have an option to conceive through IVF.
- Only 1 in 2000 vasectomies fail.
- Tubal ligation is an invasive surgical procedure.
- Every 1 in 200 tubal ligation surgeries fail.
Learn more about permanent birth control methods
What is the best option for you?
When searching for the best birth control method for yourself, you need to take into consideration your health, age, lifestyle, and side effects. In total, there are 15 different methods of contraception currently available, and each one will have its pros and cons.