A Guide through modern types of contraception

Modern Contraception refers to different methods used in preventing pregnancy. There are quite a number of effective contraceptive methods but each country might not have every single type.  There are ‘barrier’ methods like the male condom, the female condom, and the diaphragm. Short-acting methods like the contraceptive pill, injection or ring; and long term methods like contraceptive implants, the copper IUD or the hormonal IUD. Finally, there are the ‘permanent’ types of contraception like female or male sterilization. To keep things simple, we’ll talk about contraception under the broad headings of temporary methods and permanent methods.

Temporary types of Contraception

  1. Contraceptive Pills

The female has to take the contraceptive pill at around the same time every day. Each pill (tablet) either contains one hormone called a progestin or two hormones called estrogen and progestin. The type containing two hormones are more commonly prescribed and tend to be more effective than the one hormone pill. They work by preventing ovulation (the process where a woman releases an egg that can be fertilized by sperm).

2.  Male and Female Condoms

What defines it as male or female is whether the condom is for a penis or covers the vagina. It is easy to find but youshould use it carefully to avoid tearing it with nails. They work by preventing contact with sperm and the skin of the penis. As a result, condoms are the only contraceptives that prevent both Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

3. Contraceptive Implant

This kind of contraceptive method is a tiny rod containing a progestin hormone fixed under the skin of a female’s upper arm. It releases small doses of the female hormone which circulates around the body for pregnancy prevention for three or more years.

4. Contraceptive Injection

This type of contraceptive injection contains the progestin hormone. A health practitioner such as a nurse or doctor helps to inject it every 1,2 or 3 months to help prevent pregnancy. The most popular contraceptive injection provides protection for 3 months.

5. Intrauterine (contraceptive) Device {IUD}

The IUD is a copper or hormone-releasing device no bigger than a matchstick fixed inside the uterus (womb) by a health provider such as a nurse or a doctor. The copper IUD- commonly called a coil, while the hormone-releasing IUD comes in several brand names depending on what is available in your country. Depending on the type you get, it can reliably prevent pregnancy for three to ten years releasing either a safe dose of copper or progestin hormone every day for the purpose of pregnancy prevention; 

6. Diaphragms

These are usually shaped like a cup and put in the vagina to cover the cervix before sex to deter sperm from swimming from the vagina to the uterus. You must talk to your health practitioner or doctor before purchasing to get the right size.

7. Vaginal Rings

This type of contraceptive is a ring, just like the name implies, is inserted in the vagina and stays for three weeks before it is removed to allow menstruation to occur in the 4th week. Each vaginal ring works by releasing a female hormone daily which helps to prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation. You may also want to use it for 4 weeks straight so as to skip your menstrual period.

8. Contraceptive Patch

The contraceptive patch is placed on either the tummy or upper arm or other recommended body parts. It contains estrogen and progestin hormones which it releases into the body to prevent ovulation. Make sure to change the pad every week, and use it for at least 3 weeks. You may also want to use it for 4 weeks straight so as to skip your menstrual period.

Permanent types of contraception

1. Tubal Ligation or Female Sterilization

Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure where the fallopian tube is tied or clipped to prevent the released egg and the sperm from ever reaching each other. This effectively prevents fertilization.

2. Vasectomy or Male Sterilization

Vasectomy or male sterilization is a procedure that prevents sperm from flowing into semen. This occurs by cutting or closing the vas deferens tube so that even though the man will ejaculate the same volume of semen as normal, there will be no sperm in it. 

Emergency Contraception

Some contraceptives are effective if used immediately after sex or within five days after sex, they are called emergency contraceptives. The Intrauterine device can prevent pregnancy by slowing down the sperm or reducing its ability to fertilize the egg while the emergency contraceptive pill can prevent pregnancy by delaying ovulation. Although you can use emergency contraceptives after sex, the earlier you use it, the higher the chance of success. 

You can use Emergency contraceptives when you have sex without using any type of contraception, or after rape, or when there is incorrect contraceptive use like condom breakage, missed or late use of pills or contraceptive injection, prematurely removal or tearing of the diaphragm or miscalculation of safe period or any other time when the woman doubts her contraceptive efficacy. 

So you may be wondering, what is the best contraceptive for you?

Why not talk to a WHISPA doctor or use our contraceptive assessment tool and also book an appointment to get one today?

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