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Types of Contraception

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

Contraception is a method of preventing unwanted pregnancy by controlling the reproduction process. With the advancement of technology, various contraceptive methods have been developed, and individuals can choose the most appropriate method that suits their needs. In this article, we will discuss different types of contraception, including hormonal, barrier, intrauterine, and natural methods.

Hormonal contraceptives

Hormonal contraceptives

These are one of the most popular types of contraception used by women. These contraceptives contain synthetic hormones, such as progestin and estrogen, which prevent ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized egg. Hormonal contraceptives come in different forms, including pills, patches, injections, implants, and vaginal rings. Oral contraceptives, also known as birth control pills, are the most commonly used hormonal method. The pill contains synthetic hormones, which inhibit the release of an egg from the ovary. The pill is taken daily for 21 days, followed by a seven-day break, during which a woman experiences menstrual bleeding. The patch, injection, and implant are alternative hormonal methods that offer long-lasting protection, ranging from weeks to years, depending on the type used. Vaginal rings are also a popular hormonal contraceptive method that releases hormones over a three-week period.

Barrier methods of contraception

This work by physically blocking the sperm from entering the cervix and fertilizing the egg. These methods include condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, and spermicides. Condoms are the most commonly used barrier method, and they provide dual protection against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Condoms come in different materials, such as latex, polyurethane, and lambskin, and can be used by both males and females. The diaphragm and cervical cap are barrier methods that are inserted into the vagina and cover the cervix to prevent sperm from entering. Spermicides are chemical substances that kill or disable sperm, and they are usually used in conjunction with barrier methods to enhance effectiveness.

Barrier methods of contraception

Intrauterine devices (IUDs)

Intrauterine devices (IUDs)

These are long-acting, reversible contraceptive devices that are inserted into the uterus. IUDs come in two types: copper and hormonal. Copper IUDs work by preventing sperm from fertilizing the egg, while hormonal IUDs release synthetic hormones that inhibit ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized egg. IUDs offer long-term protection, ranging from three to twelve years, depending on the type used. IUDs are one of the most effective contraceptive methods and are suitable for women who want long-term, hassle-free contraception.

Natural Family Planning Methods

Natural methods of contraception

This involve monitoring the menstrual cycle to determine the fertile period when a woman is most likely to conceive. These methods include the rhythm method, basal body temperature method, cervical mucus method, and symptothermal method. The rhythm method involves abstaining from sexual intercourse during the fertile period, which is determined by counting the days of the menstrual cycle. The basal body temperature method involves measuring the temperature daily, as ovulation increases the body temperature slightly. The cervical mucus method involves monitoring changes in the cervical mucus, which becomes thinner and stretchy during ovulation. The symptothermal method combines the three methods mentioned above to determine the fertile period more accurately. Natural methods of contraception require discipline and commitment and are best suited for individuals who do not wish to use other contraceptive methods or are unable to use hormonal or barrier methods.

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