Birth Control: Types, Most Effective Methods, And Side Effects

Birth control is an essential thing when it comes to preventing pregnancy, and in some cases,(such as when you use the condom), it prevents you from different types of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). However, if you are sexually active and are not ready to have kids yet, you should be aware that the different types of birth control are absolutely necessary. However, as research suggests, many women use birth control as a means of other noncontraceptive purposes. Birth control comes in different ways and forms. More specifically, it comes in 12 and more different contraceptive methods.

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The different types of birth control

1. Birth Control Implant

This implant has the shape of a thin rod, about the size of a matchstick. It should be inserted in the upper arm by a professional. What is does is, it releases the hormone progestin, that prevents you from getting pregnant by thickening the mucus of the cervix, which stops the sperm from swimming through to your egg. It’s worthy to note that it prevents pregnancy for up to 5 years.

2. IUD

Also known as the intrauterine device, this one is shaped like a T and it’s a bit bigger than a quarter. It fits inside of the uterus and it stops pregnancy by stopping the sperm from reaching the eggs. There are five types available in the US, four contain the hormone progestin, and the fifth one, also known as the copper T IUD, is hormone-free and the copper triggers the immune system to prevent pregnancy.

3. Male Sterilization

This method is also known as vasectomy and it includes cutting or blocking the tubes the sperm travel through from the testicles. According to Planned Parenthood, there are two types of vasectomy, the incision method, and the no-scalpel, no-cut, method. The second one lowers the risk of infections and other complications. Vasectomy is meant to be permanent, so you have a large amount of thinking to do before you decide you want to go through this procedure.

4. Female Sterilization

Female sterilization is a permanent procedure to prevent pregnancy. According to Healthline, it works by blocking the fallopian tubes. There are two types of female sterilization, surgical and nonsurgical. The surgical procedure is tubal ligation where fallopian tubes are cut or blocked. Nonsurgical procedures, on the other hand, are made using devices that are placed in the fallopian tubes to seal them. This kind of procedure doesn’t require a surgery (cut).

5. Birth Control Pill

This is one of the hormonal contraception methods. It is supposed to be taken orally, it proves to be around 99.9% effective when taken correctly, according to WebMD. There are two different kinds of pills: the combination pill and the mini-pill. The combination pill contains two types of hormones, estrogen, and progestin. They put an end to ovulation, thicken the cervical mucus, and make the lining of the uterus thinner, this way it’s harder for the egg to attach there. The mini pills only contain progestin. They also thicken the cervical mucus and make the lining of the uterus thinner, meaning they are almost the same ones as the combination pills, except they are made for women who are sensitive to estrogen.

6. Birth Control Patch

The birth control patch sticks to the skin and helps prevent pregnancy. It’s applied to the skin once a week for three weeks straight. It prevents pregnancy by releasing hormones like the other hormonal birth control methods, like the birth control pill and the vaginal ring. According to Birth Control, the patch should be applied to the skin of the outer arm, stomach, back, or even buttocks. It should be kept for three weeks and then the fourth week it’s not necessary. However, make sure to change the patch after seven days, more specifically on the day you first placed it to the skin.

7. Birth Control Vaginal Ring

The vaginal ring is also known by its brand name, NuvaRing. It’s a small and flexible plastic ring that you apply into your vagina to prevent pregnancy. How it prevents pregnancy is it continuously releases synthetic estrogen and progestin.

8. Birth Control Shot

This is an injection, known as the Depo-Provera, that you should get from professionals every three months. It works well if it’s always taken on time. It also contains the hormone progestin that prevents ovulation, according to Planned Parenthood.

9. Condoms

Condoms keep the sperm from getting into the vagina. The male condom is worn on the penis when it becomes erect, and it’s usually made of a type of rubber known as latex. It should be unrolled all the way to the base of the penis while holding the tip of the condom to leave extra room at the end so there’s space for the semen after ejaculation. Condoms are the only contraceptive that protects you from STDs. The theoretical effectiveness of condoms is 98%, however, since people tend to not use them properly, they are 82% effective.

10. Female Condoms

These type of condoms are made to go inside the vagina. They serve as an obstacle that prevents bodily fluids from entering the body. They tend to be very easy to use with a little practice.

11. Diaphragm

The diaphragm is a silicone, flexible cup made of silicone or latex, and it goes inside of the vagina to block the sperm from reaching the egg. It should be used with spermicide.

12. Birth Control Sponge

This one is a round piece of white plastic foam. It has a dimple on one side and a nylon loop across the top. It’s about two inches across and you insert it way up into your vagina before having sex. The sponge blocks the cervix keeping sperm from getting into the uterus, and it releases spermicide continually.

13. Cervical Cap

The cervical cap is a small silicone cut that you put inside of the vagina. It covers the cervix and keeps the sperm out of the vagina.

14. Spermicide

This one is a birth control method that has chemicals that stop the sperm from reaching the egg. It’s supposed to be put deep into your vagina right before having intercourse. It prevents pregnancy by blocking the entrance to the cervix so sperm can’t get to the egg, and it also stops sperm from moving enough as to swim to the egg.

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The most effective birth control methods?

One of the best ways to prevent pregnancy is not to have penetrative sex as well as make sure there is no direct contact between the sperm and the vulva or the vagina. Taking into consideration that birth control methods can be of any kind, the most effective ones seem to be the ones that do not require human interference every time this way, avoiding human mistakes, according to Justine Wu, MD, MPH, assistant professor in the department of family medicine at the University of Michigan.

According to Health, who has listed the most effective birth control methods based on the Centers for Disease Control numbers, the most effective birth control methods are:

1. The Birth Control Implant (.05 pregnancies per 100 women in a year).

2. Male Sterilization (.15 pregnancies per 100 women in a year)

3. Hormonal IUD (.2 pregnancies per 100 women in a year)

4. Female Sterilization (.5 pregnancies per 100 women in a year)

5. Copper IUD (.8 pregnancies per 100 women in a year)

The side effects of the birth control pill

Birth control pills also have a number of side effects, although most of them are not serious, if they become severe and on-going, they require doctor check-ups. Some of them are:

– Nausea: According to Medical News Today, people tend to experience mild nausea when on the pill. However, the symptoms should wane after a while. If they are still occurring after three months, consider visiting your doctor.

– Sore/swollen breasts: People might experience even sore or swollen breasts but it should stop a few weeks after beginning taking the pills.

– Weight gain: Medical News Today claims you could experience fluid retention, although there is no direct link between weight gain and birth control pills.

– Spotting between periods: Healthline suggests that spotting is common in the first three to four months after you have begun taking the pill. But if the bleeding becomes heavy, make sure to consult your doctor.

– Mood swings: Medical News Today says that birth control pills may cause mood changes and increase the risk of depression. Contact your doctor, if you notice mood changes when on the pill.

– Decreased libido: Due to there being no concerns of pregnancy, some people’s libido may increase. However, it so happens that the pill might cause a decreased libido, and if it tends to become bothersome, consider consulting your doctor.

According to WebMD, if you experience the following symptoms, you should visit your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately:

– Abdominal pain (Stomach pain)

– Chest pain

– Headaches

– Swelling or aching in the legs and thighs

– Eye problems (blurred vision)

For more on the birth control pill and its risk factors, head over to our article in Birth Control Pills: How To Use Them & Birth Control Pills Side Effects.

 


Disclaimer: The contents of this article: text, graphics, images, and other materials contained are strictly for informational purposes only. The Content is NOT intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Please ALWAYS seek the advice of a qualified health provider with all the questions that you have related to, or about, a medical condition.