Birth Control

Published: February 2, 2012

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Overview

Practicing abstinence is the best and most effective method of birth control. If you are sexually active and you're not trying to get pregnant, then other methods must be taken to prevent this. Birth control methods have been around for centuries and each method has a higher success rate than others. Except abstinence, not all methods are 100% effective.

Contraceptive Methods

Hormonal Methods

  • Birth Control Pill: Perhaps the most effective method among women for birth control, the "pill" is very reliable if used correctly. The pill can be prescribed to you by your physician and helps to control your menstrual periods, in addition to decreasing your menstrual cramps, acne and other symptoms during your menstruation period. In addition to helping prevent against pregnancy, it can help fight against ovarian and uterine cancer.
  • Depo-Provera Treatment: This form of contraceptive is injected into the woman's body every three months. It's very effective and requires less management than the birth control pill, which you are required to take daily. Although it releases hormones into your body, making it near impossible to get pregnant, there is still a slim chance that you can become impregnated. For most women, there menstruation period will not happen at all while getting this treatment.
  • Vaginal Ring: The ring is a thin, transparent ring that is inserted into the vagina and slowly releases estrogen and other hormones into your body. There are different types of rings out there, and each varies in how long you can leave the ring in. A popular vaginal ring, the NuvaRing, is a low dose contraceptive that you can leave in for three weeks, allowing for the menstruation period to occur during the fourth week. Some rings can be left in place for as long as three months.
  • Hormone Patch: This simple contraceptive method allows the woman to apply the patch on the skin (upper outer arm, buttocks, abdomen or thigh), where it then releases synthetic estrogen and progestin hormones to prevent against pregnancy.

The woman applies the patch to any of the approved areas above for a period of seven days, before removing it. She must then place "the patch" and place it on another approved area of the body than she did the previous week and repeat the cycle every seven days.

Barrier Methods

  • Condoms: This form of birth control is used among men and is the most popular form of barrier. Although this method is effective, many men and woman are prone to not use this precaution, as it takes away the "satisfaction" of intercourse. In today's market, there are many different forms, shapes and brands of condoms that can help enhance the pleasure between both the male and female, while also helping to protect against pregnancy.
  • Diaphragm: This method is for the female only. The diaphragm is a dome-shaped cup that fits over the opening of the cervix to help guard against pregnancy. Because each person varies in size, there isn't just one-diaphragm that fits all women. Consult your doctor to find out what size of diaphragm to use and how to properly put it in and take out.

Emergency Contraceptive

  • Morning After Pill: This method is used if you have had unprotected sex or your protection failed, and are worried that you may get pregnant. The morning after pill is both safe and effective and can be used to prevent pregnancy up to five days after unprotected sex. The pill is made up of the same hormones that are in regular birth control pills. This contraceptive should not be confused with the "abortion pill." A common emergency contraceptive pill is called the Plan B pill.

Remember, birth control helps to prevent against pregnancy and some forms of STDs, they are not 100% effective. The best way prevent pregnancy is to practice abstinence. If you have any questions regarding birth control methods, consult a physician.

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