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9 types of contraceptive methods: advantages and disadvantages

There are several contraceptive methods that can help prevent unwanted pregnancies, such as the contraceptive pill or the arm implant, but only the condom may prevent pregnancy and protects against sexually transmitted diseases at the same time and should therefore be used in all relationships, especially when you don't know your partner.

Before choosing and using a contraceptive method it is important to consult a gynecologist to decide the most appropriate option. The best method for you depends on your health, whether you are a man or woman, age, cigarette use, illnesses or allergies, for example.

1. Contraceptive pill

9 types of contraceptive methods: advantages and disadvantages

The oral contraceptive, also known as the birth control pill, is the method most used by women to avoid pregnancy, because it has hormones that are similar to those produced by the ovaries, causing there to be no ovulation and so there is no egg ready to be fertilized.

The types of oral contraceptives available are the combined pill, which contains estrogen and progestogen, and the mini pill, which only has progestogen, being more commonly used during breastfeeding, or by women who smoke or those over 35 years of age.

The contraceptive pill can be acquired free of charge at a health post, but it depends on the brand of the contraceptive because some have to be bought at the pharmacy. The most common brands of contraceptive pills are Microgynon, Rigevidon, Cilest and Yasmin. In addition, there are other brands like Cerazette, for example

  • Advantages: In addition to helping prevent pregnancy, it can also be used to decrease PMS symptoms, reduce menstrual flow and pain during menstruation, regulate the menstrual cycle, improve acne and excess hair, and prevent pelvic inflammatory disease, cysts or ovarian cancer;
  • Disadvantages: Although it is a very effective and safe method, the woman must be responsible and take a pill every day at the same time, without forgetting, to avoid pregnancy;
  • Possible Side Effects: The most common include nausea, breast pain, short blood loss outside the period phase, decreased blood flow and symptoms of depression.

How to take the contraceptive pill correctly

In the majority of the cases you should take 1 pill a day, always at the same time during 21 days until you finish the case and then do a 7 day pause, which is when you period should appear and on the 8th day you should start a new pill case. If this is the contraceptive method you use, here is all you need to know about the birth control pill.

2. Contraceptive implant

9 types of contraceptive methods: advantages and disadvantages

The contraceptive implant, such as Nexplanon or Organon, is a method that can help prevent pregnancy through a small plastic tube that is introduced into the inside of the arm, under the skin, by a gynecologist and which releases hormones into the blood slowly preventing ovulation and making it difficult for sperm to enter the woman's uterus.

This device can stay in the woman's arm for up to 3 years, but can only be placed and taken out by a gynecologist and after removing, fertility returns to normal after 1 month.

  • Advantages: in addition to avoiding pregnancy can be used to decrease abdominal pain caused by menstruation. In addition, the implant does not interfere with intercourse or breastfeeding, and is an excellent method for women who frequently forget to take the pill, have mental illness, or have gastrointestinal problems.
  • Disadvantages: It is a more expensive and needs a health professional to be placed under the skin.
  • Possible side effects: It can cause irregular blood loss, appearance of skin blemishes, nausea, headache and mood swings.

When and how to place the implant

The implant needs to be placed in the hospital by a gynecologist during the first 7 days of your menstrual cycle, or at any point in the cycle if it is certain that the woman is not pregnant. To place and remove the implant it is necessary to perform a small surgery with local anesthesia that is applied to the arm, being normal in the first 3 days after the intervention to feel pain or to have a small purple spot.

3. Intrauterine Device (IUD)

9 types of contraceptive methods: advantages and disadvantages

Intrauterine device, known as an IUD, is a T-shaped plastic contraceptive method that is introduced into the uterus by a gynecologist and can remain for about 5 years and maintain its efficiency.

This contraceptive technique is very effective and does not cause discomfort, preventing pregnancy by copper action or hormonal release that make it difficult for fertilization.

  • Advantages: It is a method that does not interfere with intercourse and is a good method for those who forget to take the pill every day and at the same time, as it can remain in the uterus for several years.
  • Disadvantages: needs to be put in by a health professional and in some cases can lead to the onset of anemia.
  • Possible Side Effects: It can cause pain for a few days after placement, lead to minor blood loss in the following months and may increase further the risk of vaginal infections.

See how the IUD can prevent pregnancy.

4. Male and female condom

9 types of contraceptive methods: advantages and disadvantages

Condoms are an excellent contraceptive method to prevent pregnancy, as well as being the only method that protects against sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS or syphilis.

However, to be effective it is necessary to place the condom correctly before each intimate contact, preventing direct contact between the penis and the vagina and preventing sperm from reaching the uterus.

  • Advantages: They are usually cheap, easy to put on, do not cause any kind of change in the body and protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Disadvantages: Some people may have an allergy to the condom material, which is usually latex. In addition, the condom can cause discomfort in some couples or tear during intercourse, increasing the chances of pregnancy.
  • Possible side effects: besides the risk of being allergic to the condom material, there are no side effects in using of condoms.

5. Vaginal diaphragm

9 types of contraceptive methods: advantages and disadvantages

The diaphragm is a ring-shaped contraceptive method that can prevent sperm from entering the uterus, preventing fertilization of the egg. The diaphragm can be used several times for about 2 years and therefore, after use it should be washed and stored in a clean place.

  • Advantages: does not interfere with intercourse and can be inserted up to 24 hours before the relationship. In addition, it reduces the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Disadvantages: It needs to be placed up to 30 minutes before intercourse and taken out 12 hours after intimate contact, and should be repeated every time you have intercourse, otherwise it is not effective.
  • Possible side effects: There are no side effects associated with using the vaginal diaphragm.

6. Vaginal ring

9 types of contraceptive methods: advantages and disadvantages

The ring is a rubber device that is introduced into the vagina by women and its placement is similar to the introduction of an inner absorbent. You should stay with the ring for 3 weeks and then must withdraw and take a 7 day break for your period to come, putting a new ring back on.

  • Advantages: It is easy to use, does not interfere with intercourse, is a reversible method and does not alter the vaginal flora.
  • Disadvantages: Does not protect against STDs, can lead to weight gain and can not be used in several cases, such as liver problems or high blood pressure.
  • Possible Side Effects: In some women it can cause abdominal pain, nausea, decreased libido, painful menstrual periods and increase the risk of vaginal infections.

7. Injectable contraceptive

9 types of contraceptive methods: advantages and disadvantages

Contraceptive injection, such as Depo-Provera, should be given to the arm or leg muscle once a month or every 3 months by a nurse at the health clinic.

The injection slowly releases hormones that prevent ovulation, but its prolonged use can cause delayed fertility, increased appetite, which can lead to weight gain. In addition to headaches, acne and hair loss, for example. It is a great method for women with mental illness, with tuberculosis or epilepsy who can not take birth control pills or have many vaginal infections and can not wear a ring or diu.

8. Tubal ligation and Vasectomy 

Surgery is a definitive contraceptive method, preventing the woman or man from having children for the rest of their lives, so in most cases this method is only used after deciding not to have more children, being more frequent in women or men with more than 40 years of age.

In the case of the woman, tubal ligation is performed with general anesthesia, where a cut or a tourniquet is made in the tubes, which are closed, preventing the sperm from meeting the ovum. The final sterilization of a woman requires hospitalization for about 2 days and usually recovery takes about 2 weeks.

A vasectomy is the surgery performed on the man, with general anesthesia that takes about 20 minutes, being made a cut in the channel through which the sperm from the testicles to the seminal vesicles pass, but although the man stops being fertile, continues ejaculating and does not develop impotence.

9 types of contraceptive methods: advantages and disadvantages

9. Natural contraceptive methods

There are other methods that may also help prevent pregnancy, but should not be used individually because they are not fully effective and pregnancy may occur. Thus, some methods can be:

  • Calendar Method: This method requires knowing how to calculate your fertile period by subtracting 11 days from your longest cycle and 18 days from your shortest cycle. 
  • Temperature Method: body temperature is higher after ovulation and to know the time of the month that the woman is more fertile you should measure the temperature with a thermometer always in the same place;
  • Mucus method: During the most fertile period the woman has thicker mucus, similar to egg white, which indicates that the chances of getting pregnant are greater.
  • Method of Interrupted Coitus: This method involves withdrawing the penis from the inside of the vagina the moment the man is going to ejaculate. However it is not safe and is advised against.

According to these methods it is necessary to avoid intercourse during the fertile period, which is when the woman is more likely to become pregnant and to understand the profile of the woman, it usually takes 3 to 6 cycles.

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