Types of Birth Control and their Examples

Contraception or birth control is a method that can be used to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STDs. Both men and women can use various devices, medicines, and even surgical procedures to prevent the same. Based on recent statistics, almost 65 percent of women in the country used birth control measures as it helps them with better family planning. The following article sheds light on various types of birth control measures, its effectiveness, and possible side effects.

Types of birth control
The type of birth control depends on your health and your desire to have children in the future. Some of the most effective birth control measures are divided into four main methods:

Hormonal methods 

    • Birth control implant
      Also known as etonogestrel implants, they are tiny, thin rods that release synthetic hormones in the body, preventing women from getting pregnant. A doctor or nurse inserts this implant into the woman’s upper arm. The rod releases a hormone called progestin, which thickens the mucus in the cervix and lining of the uterus. The same hormone also stops the eggs from leaving the ovaries, which helps avoiding pregnancy. This low-maintenance birth control implant can prevent pregnancy for up to five years, depending on the woman’s overall health. However, this form of birth control cannot protect against STDs. The typical success rate of using this form of birth control is more than 90 percent.
    • Birth control ring
      It is a small and flexible ring that needs to be placed inside the vagina. It prevents pregnancy by releasing estrogen and progestin in the body. Doctors recommend avoiding birth control rings for those with a history of blood clots, inherited blood disorder, breast cancer, stroke, and migraine.
    • Injection
      In this type of birth control method, women are required to take injections of progestin every three months. The success rate of using this form of birth control is around 96%.
    • Progestin pills
      These are sometimes referred to as “mini-pills” and contain only progestin. They are different from combined contraceptives as they contain both estrogen and progestin. Progestin pills are suitable for women who cannot take estrogen pills due to various health conditions. The typical success rate of using progestin pills is more than 90 percent. The side effects of using progestin-only birth control options include dizziness, abdominal bloating, loss of libido, prolonged periods, breast tenderness, and skin rashes among many others.
    • Combined contraceptive pills
      Over-the-counter birth control pills contain a combination of estrogen and progestin, and are recommended to be taken within a day or two of unprotected intercourse. Doctors may advice against this birth control method to women older than 35 years and have a history of blood clots or breast cancer.
    • Patch
      This birth control method is a type of skin patch which women wear on their lower abdomen, buttocks, and upper body (except the breasts). Prescribed by doctors, this method releases progestin and estrogen into the bloodstream, which thickens the inner lining of the cervix. Women can put the patch once a week for three weeks and remove it during the fourth week to avoid irregular menstruation.

Intrauterine methods

    • IUD
      Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. This type of birth control is the most long-term, reversible, and effective birth control measures. IUDs are made of small piece of flexible plastic shaped like a ‘T’. There are two types of IUDs- Copper IUDs and hormonal IUDs. Copper IUDs can protect you from pregnancy for up to 10 years, while hormonal IUDs work by releasing progestin hormone and avoiding pregnancy for up to five years. The birth control method has the highest success rate of up to 99 percent and side effects may include uterine bleeding and pain.

Barrier methods

    • Male condom
      Comprising of latex, male condom keeps the sperm from getting into a woman’s body. The birth control method used by men also protects both partners from the risk of suffering from HIV and other STDs. The typical success rate of using this type of birth control is nearly 90 percent.
    • Female condom
      Women insert latex condoms in the vaginal track blocking the sperms’ entry. Female condom can be inserted eight hours before intercourse. However, their success rate is not as high as that of male condoms.
    • Cervical cap and sponges
      Cervical cap are also called as diaphragms. They are a thimble-shaped cup that are hollow and placed inside the vagina to cover the cervix. The spermicide present in the cap kills the sperm. It is recommended to visit a gynecologist for proper fitting as these cups come in different sizes. Sponges work in a similar way except they must be left in the vagina for at least six hours after intercourse. The success rate of these types of contraception is up to 80 percent. 

Permanent methods

  • Male sterilization
    The medical name for male sterilization is vasectomy. In this method, the vas deferens tube that carries sperm into the semen is blocked or cut. It has the highest success rate of birth control of about 99 percent.
  • Tubal Litigation
    This female sterilization is also called as tubectomy. This outpatient procedure involves tying of fallopian tubes so that fertilization does not take place.

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