You can find so many types of contraception that you may lose yourself in this variety. Intrauterine devices, implants, barrier methods, contraceptive pills, condoms and a lot more ways of sex protection. All of them have their pros and cons, but they all serve one goal – to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
This guide will help you to puzzle out all different types of contraception. You will also learn which medical products are the best for you. It will all depend on your preferences and how often you have sex.
How do contraceptives work?
There are three ways of how contraceptives work:
- Makes implantation of a fertilized egg difficult;
- Prevent ovulation;
- Stops sperm from reaching the egg.
There is also one more way of contraception which is called sterilization. It’s a type of surgery that makes a person unable to get pregnant. Thus, a surgeon blocks the tubes that carry the egg. For men, the same operation works with the vas deferens to suppress producing sperm.
If you want to avoid unwanted pregnancy, you should use contraception. Condoms are the most popular ways of protection and the best in terms of protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Nevertheless, there are also other types of contraception you must know.
What are hormonal contraceptives?
Hormonal contraceptives are for women only. For today, there are various options for hormonal contraceptives on the market.
You might have heard about hormonal pills. There are three main types:
- Combined oral pills;
- Progestin-only pills;
- Emergency pills.
There are also other ways of hormonal protection, like:
- The contraceptive ring. This ring needs to be inserted into the vagina for three weeks once a month. Then a woman get 1 week off the ring to get back 3 weeks on the ring again.
- The contraceptive implant. It’s a long term solution. Once in three years, it needs to be replaced.
- The contraceptive injections. A woman gets the injection renewed once in 8-12 weeks.
- Hormonal Coils or IUS. This kind of contraceptive needs replacement once in five years.
- The contraceptive patch. It’s similar to the ring. You just wore it for three weeks following one week off the patch.
Choose the best method of contraception!
What is the best method of contraception for you? There are several factors that can give you an answer. For instance, the main factors main include your lifestyle, age, general health and how often you need to have sex.
There are advantages and disadvantages of various types of contraceptives. Some contraceptive products are prescription-only as they contain hormones. Nevertheless, there are also contraceptives that do not need any prescription, like condoms.
If you have an irregular job or suffer from irregular sleeping, contraceptives pills may not be for you. You need to take hormonal pills around the same time according to the instructions. It may be difficult for people who do not have a set routine or suffer from sleeping disorders.
At the same time, you can find that hormonal implants and injections work similarly to pills. Moreover, they do not need so much attention as pills.
If you do not have a regular sex partner, then you need to stick to the condoms option. This type of contraception will protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.
You need to check out all your options in terms of the best contraception. In terms of prescription-only contraceptives, you will need to visit a doctor.
Male and female contraception
Men have the following options:
Women have the next variants:
- Intrauterine contraception;
- Contraceptive implants;
- Contraceptive patches;
- Cervical cap;
- Family planning;
- Female condom;
- Contraceptive pills.
Contraceptive methods for women over 40
Women over 40 will also need to use contraception. Nevertheless, not all contraceptives are suitable for women of this age. Nevertheless, according to medical experts, women can continue taking hormonal pills even after menopause if a doctor allows.
If you are over 40 and do not desire to have children, you can also consider sterilization. It offers permanent protection from unwanted pregnancy. At the same time, you should understand that sterilization is not reversible. Therefore, you need to consider all options before taking the sterilization step.
Women over and under 40 should regularly consult with doctors regarding their health. It’s even more important in case when considering hormonal contraceptives.
Long-acting reversible contraception
LARCs provide protection from unwanted pregnancy from several months to years. One of the most obvious examples of LARCs is contraceptive coils and implants. Their effect is reversible if you want to return your fertility.
For today, no LARCs for men exist. The only long term solution for men is vasectomy and it’s not reversible.
What is a contraceptive pill?
The most commonly used contraceptive for women is a hormonal pill. Various experts prove that this type of contraception gives a 99% chance to avoid pregnancy. Nevertheless, it’s on condition if you follow all the instructions in the patient’s leaflet. In other words, you need to at least take these pills every day at the same time.
For today, there are two types of contraceptive pills: mini-pills (progestin-only pills) and combined pills. Both pills contain synthetic versions of natural hormones. Therefore, the combination pills include progesterone and oestrogen. At the same time, mini-pill contains only progestin.
If you choose to take combined pills, you will need to follow the cycle of 21 days on the pill and 7 days off the pill. Do not worry, if you follow the instructions, you will not get pregnant in the 7 days without pills.
For the mini-pills, you usually have to follow 28 days cycle without off weeks. You just take the pill every day at the same time according to the patient’s leaflet.
All hormonal pills usually need a prescription. Therefore, you will need to consult your doctor before buying these pills. Important to notice that oral pills do not protect from sexually transmitted infections.
The most popular types of contraception for today. Condoms actually have a lot of advantages. First of all, they are relatively cheap. Secondly, you can also use condoms as types of sex toys. Thirdly, it’s the best way to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections, like HIV, Chlamydia and others.
Condoms need to fit the size of a partner otherwise it’s not effective. Some medical clinics may also give condoms for free.
The main material of condoms is latex. Nevertheless, you can buy condoms made of lambskin or polyurethane. You will also need to check if the condom has some proper lubricant on it. It should not break the condom or damage it in any way.
You also have an option to use female condoms. One of the main advantages is that you can buy these condoms without a prescription. They can be inserted into the vagina up to 8 hours before sex. Female condoms are less effective in case of avoiding pregnancy (95% efficiency against 98% with male condoms) and protection against sexually transmitted infections. At the same time, female condoms tend to be more expensive.
Diaphragms are another type of barrier contraceptives. The main course of action is blocking spermatozoids from entering the womb and reaching the egg. Still, you need to treat a diaphragm with spermicide each time before sex. You need to put extra spermicide every three hours before sex. At the same time, it needs to stay in place for 6 hours after sex. One of the main advantages of a diaphragm is that you can use it several times.
If you want to buy a contraceptive diaphragm, you will need a prescription from your doctor. You may also need some time to get used to a diaphragm. One more thing, diaphragms do not protect from sexually transmitted infections.
Femcaps or cervical caps are less known contraceptives. In some way, they are the same as diaphragms. You need to use spermicides for femcaps. At the same time, you need to leave the cap in the vagina for six hours after sex. Some women prefer cervical caps to diaphragms as they are less likely to cause cystitis. One more thing, femcaps do not protect from sexually transmitted diseases.
Spermicides usually need to use along with other contraceptives like cervical caps and diaphragms. You may buy this type of contraceptives without any prescription. At the same time, spermicides do not protect from sexually transmitted diseases.
A contraceptive implant is a small tube approximately 4 cm long that a doctor inserts it in your arm. Implants are 99% effective.
The course of action is the same as with mini-pills. The implant releases progestogen into the body which suppresses ovulation. Implants are effective up to 3 years and you can remove them at any time.
What you need you to remember is that contraceptive implants do not protect from sexually transmitted diseases. In this case, you need to use a condom. Moreover, do not try to insert the implant by yourself. Consult with your doctor before inserting it.
It works similarly to contraceptive implants. Nevertheless, injections work only by three months. At the same time, you do not have an option to remove the injection at any time. In addition, if you experience side effects, they may persist up to several weeks.
As with any other hormonal condom, you are not protected from sexually transmitted diseases. Use condoms if you do not have a regular partner.
It’s another form of hormone-based contraceptives. They work the same as combined contraceptive pills. The patches contain oestrogen and progesterone. You need to wear it for three weeks following one week off the patch.
For today, there are two main types of coils:
- Hormonal coils (IUS);
- Copper coils (IUD).
You can talk with your doctor about the best type for you. First of all, you need a doctor to insert the coil and then have regular checkups. Nevertheless, intrauterine coils are very safe and provide a 99% chance of avoiding pregnancy.
One of the big advantages of the coil is that you can place it for 5 or even 10 years. During this time, you do not need to worry about pregnancy. Still, it does not protect you from various sexually transmitted diseases. Just use condoms in this case.
You can even use coils as an emergency contraception method. You just need to insert it within 5 days after unprotected sex. If you want to remove the coil, specially trained doctors may help you with that.
Sterilization is a permanent solution towards protecting against unwanted pregnancy. This surgery is not reversible. Therefore, you need to make this choice only if you don’t want to have children.
For men, the sterilization option is usually vasectomy. In this case, a surgeon removes tubes through which sperm passes. In some rare cases, these tubes may grow back. Therefore, the man becomes fertile again.
The sterilization of women includes various techniques. For instance, one option may be cutting of fallopian tubes or clips and coils. At the same time, after the operation, you will need to use condoms for three months.
It’s a very small chance that the sterilization will be unsuccessful. Nevertheless, men and women will need to consult a doctor prior to the surgery.
Some couples rely heavily on family planning in case of avoiding pregnancy. This usually includes tracking of the menstrual cycle and avoiding sex in the fertile days. In other words, it means monitoring the body temperature, mucus consistency and other factors that indicate ovulation.
There is only one problem with that and it’s the irregularity of cycles. Women do not have perfect regulated cycles. Therefore, in some way, it’s a gamble. Even if you plan everything perfectly. Still, there are no side effects to this method.
What is the safest option then?
Different contraception options rank differently in terms of safety. Therefore, hormonal contraceptive options need some special attention. Nevertheless, all of them are safe and do not show serious side effects. Amongst the safest are vasectomy, sterilization, contraceptive injections, contraceptive implant, hormonal pills and so on.
The safest method depends on various factors. Importantly, you need to talk to your doctor about the preferred method of contraception. He/she will determine if you need prescription contraceptives or not. Moreover, if you decide to use injections, implants or surgery, you will definitely need a consultation.