Contraceptive Methods: Everything You Need To Know
Having sex comes with responsibilities, and if you want to enjoy it without undesired consequences, you will need to know all about contraceptive methods. Luckily, there are many options when talking about contraception, so you will easily find something that suits your needs and allows you to have as much sex you want, and more importantly, the way you want it.
Depending on the contraceptive method, it protects you from unwanted pregnancy, while some of them will also keep you safe from sexually transmissible infections (STIs). To answer all questions you might have about contraception, take a look at the best contraceptive methods and find out what benefits they bring for your sexual health and lifestyle.
Having sex with a condom is the only way of protecting yourself and your sex partner against most STIs and pregnancy. It’s a contraceptive method that can be used on-demand, while also being hormone-free and simple to carry around with you at all times. Another great thing about condoms is they come in both male and female varieties.
While male condoms are being rolled onto an erect penis to prevent sexual fluids from passing between the partners, the female condom is being placed into the vagina moments before having sex. When comparing these two options, a male condom is more practical, effective, and enjoyable as the female condom requires both partners to get used to it.
Oral Contraceptive Pills
Oral contraceptive pills need to be taken once a day, and as much as there are many different types of pills to choose from, the principle is the same with all of them. Combines pills contain estrogen and progestin, and mini pills contain only one – progestin. The most important thing with any of these oral contraceptive pills is to take them on time.
When used correctly, contraceptive pills are highly effective, allow both partners sexual spontaneity, and doesn’t put your activities on pause during the entire sex. Many women are even taking them to reduce heavy and painful periods or as a part of the acne treatment, yet unlike condoms, these pills will not protect you or your sex partner against STIs.
This contraceptive method implies a little, flexible rod being placed under the upper arm skin of a woman. There, it releases a form of the hormone progesterone. This hormone will stop the ovary from releasing the egg and thicken the woman’s cervical mucus which makes it very challenging for the sperm to enter the womb.
With this method, you will need to do a small procedure that requires local anesthesia both when fitting it and removing it after three years. As a highly effective contraceptive method, it’s important to keep in mind there can be irregular bleeding at first, which needs to be monitored by a trained healthcare provider to avoid any potential problems.
Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)
This is a small, T-shape device that contains progesterone hormone and is placed inside a uterus by a trained healthcare professional. It´s one of the longest-acting contraceptive methods as it can stay in for three to ten years. Some IUDs will even release hormones gradually to prevent pregnancy.
It can even be fitted inside a uterus as emergency contraception as it’s efficient within five days of the last time you had unprotected sex. As it is with contraceptive implants mentioned above, you need to be aware of potential irregular bleeding and spotting in the first few months of use.
Emergency Contraception Pills
If you forgot or didn’t have access to contraceptive methods, an emergency contraception pill might be exactly what you need. If you just had unprotected sex or a condom has broken during sex, the ‘Morning After’ pill can be effective within the first five days of unprotected sex. To make sure it’s as efficient as possible, you should take it immediately or within the next three days after sex.
When taken in that period of time, the emergency contraception pill prevents more than 80% of expected pregnancies. It contains a special dose of female hormones. These ‘Morning After’ pills can be bought over the counter at a pharmacy or chemist without any prescription. Another benefit is that even women who cannot take oral contraceptive pills can take this pill to prevent potential pregnancy.
A contraceptive ring is a flexible plastic ring that constantly releases hormones and is placed in the vagina. Unlike previously mentioned methods like IUDs and contraceptive implants, a woman will put in a contraceptive ring. It stays in for three weeks, and once a woman removes it, she will need to wait another week to put another contraceptive ring.
This ring releases the estrogen and progestogen, both hormones found in the combined oral contraceptive pill, yet at a much lower dose. Contraceptive rings are also being used to control periods and you can work on your pregnancy if you want as soon as you remove it.
When choosing an appropriate contraceptive method for yourself, it’s best to consult with your gynecologist. Not every woman will be able to use all of the above-mentioned methods, so it’s best to have that conversation before you make a decision. For instance, not all oral contraceptive pills are the same, so someone might have negative consequences taking one and feel completely fine by taking another type of pill.
If you’ve decided to use a contraceptive method that requires the help of a trained help provider, make sure you’ve checked the background of that person before having the procedure. Making sure that the method is fitted correctly will keep you safe from pregnancy and minimalize the post-effects of the procedure, like bleeding and spotting.
When in a serious relationship, talk about contraception with your partner as this decision affects you both. Having the support of your loved one will help you make the right decision and allow you to enjoy sex as you used to.
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