Oral contraceptive pill…………………………………………………………………4
Intrauterine contraception (IUC)……………………………………………………….7
Birth control implant……………………………………………………………………8
The male and female condom………………………………………………………….10
Contraceptives, also known as birth or fertility control are techniques or tools that are used to hinder the occurrence of a pregnancy. They are widely used by women as compared to men. Contraception is not a new concept as birth control has been there throughout human history. However, with scientific and technological advancement, there are now modern ways to control fertility which are more effective. The number of women who become pregnant after having used a particular contraceptive within the first year determines the effectiveness of the method (Whelpton, Arthur and 1). Many birth control measures work by preventing implantation, obstructing fertilization, or stopping the production of eggs. Contraceptives play a significant role in helping women to progress in their workplaces, pursue their careers, and plan their careers without worrying about unwanted pregnancies. There are many types of contraceptives will be described in this paper.
Emergency contraceptives are not used for family planning but rather, it helps to prevent unwanted pregnancies from occurring. They are mainly used after one has had unprotected sex and the sooner they are taken, the higher the level of success. There are multiple reasons that can prompt a woman to take emergency contraception. For instance, when one is sexually assaulted, when a condom breakage, forgetting to take pills or mistakes in determining the fertility period are possible explanations for seeking emergency contraception (Ilic 211). ‘Morning after pills’ and copper intrauterine device (IUD) are the two forms of emergency birth control that are available. As for ‘morning-after pills’, they are the earliest emergency contraception to be developed. Formerly, they were used as family planning methods. However, many of them had various side effects but today, there are more advanced ones which are more effective and less harmful. E-pills, for instance, is the most popular ‘morning-after’ contraception which is widely available in pharmacies and has a high success rate if taken within the first 24 hours of unprotected sex (Ilic 214). It does not require a prescription but being obese or overweight can hinder its efficacy and therefore, it is always advisable to seek guidance from a healthcare professional for ascertaining that it is the correct choice for an individual.
On the other hand, copper IUD is a more reliable way of emergency birth control compared to the pills. It is normally inserted one to seven days by a physician after engaging in unsafe sex. The main advantage attributed to emergency contraception is that it can be taken after as long as after 5 days of having unprotected sex (Ott and Gina 265).. Nevertheless chances of becoming pregnant increase if one delays taking the pills. They are also less likely to work on women with a higher BMI. Additionally, e-pills have a wide range of effects if consumed regularly. For instance, they can cause infertility with prolonged use.
Just as the name suggests, hormonal fertility control techniques and devices function by altering the level of hormones in a woman’s body. They contain artificial hormones which resemble estrogen and progesterone which are naturally produced in the body of a woman (SOGC 4). There are several sub-categories of hormonal contraception.
Oral contraceptive pill
Oral contraceptive pill, also known as birth control pill is highly recommended for all women of reproductive age who are healthy. It is estimated that over 100 million women all over the world depend on this method as their family planning technique (Rainwater 6). COC which contains progestin and estrogen hormones and POP which have progestin-only are the only available forms of birth control pill. Generally, the pill controls birth by stopping the release of eggs from the ovary and condensing the cervical mucus so that the sperm does not come into contact with the ovum (SOGC 5). Additionally, it alters the uterus’ lining hence thwarting implantation. Women are required to take the oral contraceptive pill on a daily basis and preferably during the same time without failure. Currently, the pill has less hormonal doses and also allows women to have at least two days of placebo which are necessary for alleviating hormonal variations and other health consequences. Only ninety out of a thousand women are likely to not have the desired outcome after using this method of birth control within the first year.
The oral contraceptive pill has a high success rate, is reversible and does not cause sexual interference. Besides, it has been associated with a reduced flow during the menstruation period and it also eliminates cramps. Also, the birth control pill is also said to lessen the premenstrual indicators. As for COC, it can diminish acne and lessens the chances of developing certain types of malignancies such as ovarian and endometrial cancers (SOGC 5). As for POP, it might be of great help to women who are estrogen intolerant and lactating mothers.
Overall, when a woman is using other medications alongside oral contraceptive pill it can be less effective. In addition, most women who use it regularly complain of nausea, headaches, and breast sensitivity. It can also lead to irregular cycles, spotting, and blood clotting especially among those who present with blood-related illnesses (SOGC 5). Another concern about birth control pills is that they require keenness as they should be taken each day during the same time which puts a woman at risk of getting pregnant if they forget even for a single day.
A contraceptive patch is a beige square covering that is normally stuck on the skin whereby it progressively releases estrogen and progestin into the blood system of the woman. Primarily it stops the release of ovum from the ovaries but it can also make the cervical mucus to thicken causing an obstruction in sperms movement towards the uterus. Also, it may prevent pregnancy by making the covering of the uterus thin. This method shares a lot of similarities with the oral contraceptive pill. One patch is to be worn for 3 weeks but it should be removed and stuck again after seven days and on the same day (SOGC 7). The fourth week is normally patch-free which allows a new cycle to begin. Many women apply the patch on the back of the upper arms, stomach, and buttocks. However, putting it on the breasts is highly discouraged. Besides, physicians recommend that it should be worn on clean and dry skin and while on, one should not apply creams or lotions near it. The patch has a 98 percent sticking ability and a woman can exercise, swim, and shower without it coming out.
Some of the major strengths attributed to contraceptive patch include a high success rate in terms of preventing pregnancy, it can be reversed, does not alter with intercourse, can lessen menstrual flow and lower abdomen pains, and normalizes the menstrual cycle. In addition, it decreases the threat of getting some types of cancers that affect the reproductive system as well as the risk of fibroids (SOGC 7).
Skin irritation, nausea, the sensitivity of the breasts, headaches, and irregular bleeding may occur when one uses this fertility control device. Another drawback associated with the contraceptive covering is that it can fail on overweight and obese women.
The vaginal ring is a circular device which is made of soft and elastic plastic with a diameter of 54mm. usually, it is placed inside the vagina and disseminates estrogen and progestin hormones in a span of 3 weeks. Apart from blocking the release of eggs from the ovaries, it can thwart the occurrence of pregnancy by gelling the cervical fluid, making it difficult for the sperms to penetrate the uterus. The ring can also impact the uterine covering, impeding implantation. The ring does not have different sizes and has no specific position of insertion for it to work. When inside, it is supported by the vaginal walls and it cannot be felt (SOGC 8). It does not require a physician to place it is easy for a woman to insert and remove. Just like the pill and the patch, the ring should remain inside the vagina for three weeks and withdrawn on the fourth week so that another cycle can start.
Advantages and disadvantages
The vaginal ring does not only prevent pregnancy effectively but it is also reversible and is safe to use. It also causes regular and reduced menstrual flows and eases cramps, and cuts pre-cycle symptoms (SOGC 8). Other strengths of the loop are that it lessens the probability of having endometrial and ovarian tumors as well as fibroids and a woman does not necessarily have to memorize each day.
On the other, hand, this birth control device can cause uneasiness in the vagina, bleeding or spotting irregularly, and one needs to remember changing the ring once in a month. Additionally, it can cause headaches, nausea, and breast tenderness and cannot protect one from transmitting STIs.
Intrauterine contraception (IUC)
IUC is a popular method of controlling birth used by used approximately 150 million women globally. They have a wide usage as they have the highest level of success in preventing pregnancy. Research shows that out of a thousand women who use this technique within the first year, it can only go wrong in two. IUCs are tiny devices with a T-shape which are inserted into the uterus with the assistance of a physician in a healthcare center. IUCs are further categorized into two: copper or paragard IUDs and LNG IUDs. LNG IUDs such as Mirena, Liletta, and Skyla release a hormone known as progestin which is contained in their small tubes. As for copper IUDs, they do not have hormones but only a wrapping of copper. Both classes of IUCs are function by hindering the sperm from moving towards the egg to fertilize it and hence preventing pregnancy from happening (SOGC 9). The copper contained in the Paragard, for instance, presents an obstacle since sperms tend not to be friendly towards the element. On the other hand, the hormones present in LNG IUCs can make the cervical mucus to thicken hence blocking the sperms or they may thwart ovulation.
IUDs are normally inserted by a doctor or a nurse. Before carrying out the procedure, the physician obtains a medical background of the woman and then assess their reproductive system. The device is often placed using a special inserter through the cervical opening and into the uterus. One may experience slight cramping when the IUD is being inserted in some cases, severe pain can occur but it only lasts a short while.
Advantages and disadvantages
The high level of effectiveness is one of the major strengths of using IUCs. They are almost as successful as sterilization. In addition, they are convenient in the sense that one does not have to remove it until it expires unless they want it removed. An IUD can last for as short as 3 or as long as 12 years based on the type chosen. What is more, they are reversible and it becomes easy to get pregnant by having it detached (SOGC 9). Another advantage is that women with hormonal issues and can use Cu-IUDs as they are hormone-free.
Nevertheless, IUCs have several drawbacks. For instance, they cause pain during insertion, can lead to irregular and heavy menstrual flow as well as severe cramps. Apart from this, IUDs can be expensive and can go for up to $1, 300 making it unaffordable for some women.
Birth control implant
Also referred to as Nexplanon or Implanon, birth control implant is a small device whose structure resembles a rod about the size of a matchstick. It works by producing progestin hormone which stops one from getting pregnant. Normally, it is inserted underneath the skin of a woman’s upper arm using a special inserter, a procedure that lasts for a few minutes (Whelpton, Arthur and 1). Slight swelling or tenderness may occur for some days after placing the implant. The progestin released by the causes thickening of the cervical mucus which deters the sperms from swimming towards the eggs but it can also prevent the ovum from parting the ovaries. This method is 99 percent effective in controlling birth.
Benefits and disadvantages
The implant is one of the most successful birth control methods available alongside IUDs and sterilization. It is also reversible and flexible. Unlike the pill, one cannot forget or use it improperly as it is already in the arm. Nexplanon is also friendly to the menstrual flow as it makes it lighter and regular in addition to eliminating cramps. Moreover, it does not cause infertility and one can get pregnant any time they remove it.
The implant has been associated with a variety of side effects such as weight gain, headaches, nausea, ovarian cysts, and pain or infection in the location where the device is located, just to mention a few. It can also cause spotting, especially within the first 6-12 months. Additionally, they cannot protect one contracting STDs.
This technique is also identified as the birth control shot or Depo shot. It is a highly successful type of contraception and is not permanent. The injection is often administered after every three months in a year, which is four times a year (Ott and Gina 260). It contains progestin hormone which stops the eggs from leaving the ovaries, making eggs unavailable for fertilization. Besides, the hormone can also change condense the cervical gel and this presents a strong barrier for sperms to penetrate.
Advantages and disadvantages
Injectable contraceptives have a high success rate as long as one remembers to get the shot on the time it lasts long. Also, most medications do not alter the functionality of the injections (Whelpton, Arthur and 1). It is also a convenient birth control technique for individuals who do not want to take pills or other methods that interrupts intercourse. Since the injections contain progestin, women who are intolerant to fertility control methods that have estrogen can use this method.
On the other hand, the greatest drawback about using Depo shot is that it may take up to 10 months for one to get pregnant after one stops using the contraceptive. Additionally, it may lead to health complications such as bone thinning, depression, migraine, skin yellowing, and overweight. It also causes irregular menstrual cycles.
The male and female condom
Male condoms are affordable and easily available for use during sexual intercourse. There are different sizes, textures, and colors and often consist of diverse lubricants. A male condom is worn over the penis when having sex and presents a physical barrier that hinders the penis from coming into direct contact with the vagina. As for the female condom, also known as an internal condom, it is a soft sheath made of nitrile that fits loosely inside the vagina (Whelpton, Arthur and 1). It consists of two elastic rings one of which remains outside the vagina while the other one is inserted into the vagina to hold it in place. It prevents pregnancy also by creating a barrier which hinders the sperms from reaching the eggs.
Advantages and disadvantages
Both male and female condoms prevent pregnancy and STI transmission from occurring (Ott and Gina 258). They are also hormone –free and therefore, do not interfere with the body’s hormones. They can be used alongside other contraceptives to enhance their success. As for the female condom, its rings can improve sexual stimulation.
However, condoms can interfere with sexual activity by causing discomfort. They also have a high potential of breaking and this can lead to a pregnancy (Whelpton, Arthur and 1). Also, they need to be handled and put on correctly to be effective.
Overall, there are multiple contraceptive methods that adolescents and adult women can use to avoid getting unplanned pregnancies. Some of the most effective birth control techniques are the IUD devices and the birth control implant. For adolescents, refraining from sexual activity is the best way to avoid unwanted pregnancies. However, I would recommend IUDs for al sexually active teenagers and adult women mainly due to their high rates of success. In addition, it is convenient and cannot jeopardize their fertility. They cannot struggle to get pregnant once they are of the right age. Another reason why I recommend IUDs for young women who are in school is that they are also friendly with the menstruation cycle and have less severe health effects such as vomiting and headaches. However, IUDs can sometimes be expensive and in this case, I would recommend women to use birth control implant. It is as effective as the IUDs and is also flexible. Unlike the pills, the implant is inserted under the skin and a woman therefore, cannot forget to use it or utilize it incorrectly. For women who have only one partner, IUDs and the implant can be used independently. However, women with multiple sexual partners should use these birth control methods together with condoms to avoid contracting STIs.
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Ott, Mary A., and Gina S. Sucato. “Contraception for adolescents.” Pediatrics 134.4 (2014): e1257-e1281.
Rainwater, Lee. Family design: Marital sexuality, family size, and contraception. Routledge, (2017): 1-15.
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Whelpton, Pascal Kidder, Arthur A. Campbell, and John E. Patterson. Fertility and family planning in the United States. Vol. 2200. Princeton University Press, (2015): 1.