Birth control applies to both men and women. Some methods work to prevent sexually transmitted infections while others do not. Deciding between birth control methods depends on one’s health, frequency of sexual intercourse, side effects, and the pregnancy plan. Your health care provider should play a role in what you decide.
Before we review the birth control methods, let’s first define birth control.
What is birth control?
Birth control refers to a device, medicine, or a method useful to prevent pregnancy. There are many types of birth control, but they differ in effectiveness. You can consult your health care provider to help you decide which birth control method works for you. For example, you might prefer birth control pills while another person uses the shot. Those preventing sexually transmitted infections are a bonus because they guard your health.
The following are the birth control methods.
Types of birth control
Birth control pill
Birth control pills are a type of hormonal birth control that prevents a woman from ovulating. They include the following hormones;
They inhibit the sperm from reaching the egg by hardening the cervical mucus. The womb’s lining also changes to prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg. It is one of the most popular types of birth control.
Ulipistral and levonorgestrel are birth control emergency contraception taken if the initial dose of the birth control pills does not work. The birth control pills combination will work to prevent pregnancy.
Birth control patch
The birth control patch has progestin and estrogen to prevent ovulation. It makes the method hormonal birth control. When there’s no ovulation, sperm do not get an egg to fertilize. A woman puts a patch on their skin, and it releases the hormones through the skin to the body. It comes with a prescription-type schedule, so one can replace it when it wears out.
Birth control vaginal ring
It is a soft plastic ring that a woman inserts inside their vagina. Birth control vaginal ring releases progestogen and estrogen to stop pregnancy. It lasts for 30 days or one month, and one can still have sex while it is inside the vagina. The ring is suitable even when one has a medical condition which is an advantage over the birth control pill.
Birth control shot
It is also Depo-Provera which is hormonal birth control. The birth control shot is an injection that one renews after 90 days, 12 weeks, or every three months. It only works when one takes it within schedule. It contains progesterone, which thickens the egg’s cervical membrane to prevent fertilization. The application starts at the beginning of the menstrual period or before the seventh day.
IUD means intrauterine device. The device is a barrier method of birth control, so it doesn’t include any hormones. It has a T-shape and works by preventing contact between sperm and the egg. One can have a doctor insert the IUD for them. They will receive a prescription for pain medication to help deal with bleeding or cramping.
Birth control implant
A doctor inserts a rod-like plastic stick under a woman’s skin on the upper arm. It is a hormonal birth control implant that releases progestin into the body to prevent pregnancy. The implant lasts for three years before it requires replacing or removal and has advantages like causing lighter periods and improving cramps.
It is a type of birth control for males. A doctor cuts the scrotum tube in one or two cuts, which prevents the sperms from leaving a man’s body. So, the sperm does not get the chance to fertilize an egg. It is a short surgery that takes half an hour.
Sterilization is for women, and it works to block the fallopian tube. It is a permanent procedure that will stop ovulation. A woman should take it as a serious matter before they can opt for sterilization. It is common among women who already have children. There are a few cases of women opting for sterilization because they do not want to get pregnant.
Abstinence is staying away from sexual intercourse. It avoids any type of penetration that can lead to contact of sperm and egg, but also an STD transmission. That makes it the safest method to maintain morality and good health. It stands out because there is no risk of hormonal side effects or physical harm. If you slip up, use birth control pills.
Breastfeeding for up to 6 hours daily will cause the body to adjust and halt ovulation. A woman can’t get pregnant because there’s no egg to fertilize. In most cases, women won’t experience a period with consistent breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can work like other birth control methods. It is effective within the first six months of giving birth.
It is a method that a woman can use to track ovulation. For example, a woman is most fertile close to ovulation days. They are the unsafe days, and during this time, one can abstain from sex or use other methods like wearing a condom. After establishing their menstrual cycle, they can know when to avoid sex. The fertile days are on days 8 to 19. It is risky among the types of birth control because of its high unpredictability.
A woman inserts the cervix into their vagina to block the cervix, preventing contact between sperm and eggs. It can also be used with a spermicide for high effectiveness. One can confuse a cervical cap and a diaphragm, but these are the main differences: the cervical cap resembles a sailor’s hat, while the diaphragm works like the cervical cap, but it is bigger and looks like a dish.
Spermicide and gel
Spermicide is a liquid inserted into the vagina to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. It requires a cervical cap or diaphragm to work. You might think that it kills the sperm based on its name, but no, it only slows down sperm movement.
There are condoms for males and females. Both prevent the contact of male and female genitals. So, there is no sperm reaching the egg for fertilization. It prevents the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) when used well. In case a condom becomes faulty, you should use emergency contraception.
Which type of birth control is the most effective?
Abstinence is the best form of birth control. It is because there is no possibility for the contact between sperm and egg to lead to fertilization. Not everyone abstains, which raises questions about other birth control methods.
They are different, and they will work differently for every individual. So, there is no perfect birth control method; it depends on each person. Your health care provider should advise you on the best method; for example, you might be better off using birth control pills over the birth control patch.
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