Welcome to ehealthforum,
It is difficult to educate about all the methods in one answer. There are various forms/methods of birth control measures. You should consider visiting your doctor/gynecologist to discuss about these and see which one suits you and your needs. Get started on the appropriate one as prescribed by your doctor/gynecologist. Some of these are created for women and others for men. Some methods are considered permanent while others are reversible. The majority of birth control methods fall into any one of the two categories: barrier or hormonal. There are also other four methods: sterilization (surgery), withdrawal, natural family planning and abstinence.
It is important that your doctor/gynecologist examines the different methods of birth control and other related considerations (medical conditions) to determine which method of contraception is best and safe for you. Always remember that most birth control methods prevent pregnancy, but they do not prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STD). It is also very important to remember that all forms of birth control have a failure rate, none are 100% perfect. You should go ahead and take a pregnancy test if you are experiencing any pregnancy symptoms.
1).Abstinence: It is the voluntary refraining from sexual activity and is the ONLY contraceptive method that is 100% effective in the prevention of both pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.
2).Fertility Awareness Method: Natural Family Planning (NFP): It does not rely on devices or medications to prevent pregnancies, rather it is a contraceptive method that uses the natural functions of your body and your menstrual cycle to calculate your probable ovulation day. The most common features include recording of your body temperature and changes in your cervical mucus each day. This method also requires periodic abstinence (approximately 7 to 10 days) during the ovulation period (in order to prevent pregnancy). Some women choose to use a barrier method or withdrawal during this âfertile timeâ.
3).Barrier Methods: Barrier or device methods of contraceptives are physical or chemical barriers which are designed to stop the sperms from entering a woman's uterus.
a).Male Condom: It is a tube of thin material (latex rubber) that is to be rolled over the erect penis prior to contact with the vagina. The male condom is the most common barrier method use worldwide.
b).Female Condom: This is a seven-inch long pouch of polyurethane with two flexible rings which is to be inserted into the vagina prior to intercourse. This female condom covers the cervix, vaginal canal, and the immediate area around the vagina from contact with sperms.
c).Spermicides: These are chemicals that are designed to kill the sperms. These are available in form of foam, jelly, foaming tablets and vaginal suppositories.
d).Diaphragm: This is a soft rubber dome that is stretched over a flexible ring; the dome is filled with a spermicidal cream or jelly. This diaphragm is inserted into the vagina and placed over the cervix no more than 3 hours prior to intercourse for protection.
e).Cervical Cap: This is a small cup made of latex rubber or plastic which is filled with a spermicidal cream or jelly and inserted into the vagina and placed over the cervix before sexual intercourse.
f).Contraceptive Sponge: This contraceptive sponge is a soft saucer-shaped device made from polyurethane foam.
4).Hormonal Methods: These can be administered as a pill, patch, shot, ring or implant, and these hormone medications contain manufactured forms of the hormones estrogen and/or progesterone. Hormonal methods work in any one of three ways: 1) by preventing your ovaries from releasing an egg every month; 2) by causing the thickening of cervical mucus and making it harder for sperms to penetrate and reach the egg; 3) by causing thinning of the lining of the uterus (endometrium) which reduces implantation chances of the fertilized egg will in the uterus wall. Hormonal contraceptives also do NOT protect against the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
a).Birth Control Pills: These hormonal contraceptive pills are to be taken daily as prescribed by your healthcare provider to have the protection.
b).Depo-Provera: It is an injection given by your health care provider that prevents pregnancy for about three months.
c).Lunelle: This injection is given by your health care provider that prevents pregnancy for about one month.
d).NuvaRing/Vaginal Ring: Also known as vaginal ring, is a flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina for three weeks, and removed for one week, and then replaced with a new ring to have continued protection. This ring releases estrogen and progesterone into your body causing hormonal changes and giving you protection from pregnancy.
e).Ortho Evra Patch/Birth Control Patch: The patch is to be placed directly on the skin with the hormones that are incorporated into the sticky side of the patch. Each week for the first three weeks a patch is placed on the hip, buttocks or upper arm, and the fourth week you are free from the patch allowing for a menstrual period to occur.
f).Intrauterine Device (IUD): IUD is a small plastic device that contains copper or hormones and is inserted into the uterus by a medical professional. This does not stop the sperms from entering into the uterus, but rather it changes cervical mucus decreasing the probability of fertilization and it also changes the lining of the uterus preventing implantation in case fertilization occurs.
5).Withdrawal & Sterilization: These do not prevent transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
a).Withdrawal: This involves the voluntary removal of the erect penis from the vagina prior to the ejaculation. It is associated with highest failure rates.
b).Sterilization: In females, Sterilization involves the surgical closing/ligation/cutting/burning of the fallopian tubes which carry the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. It is also known as a tubal ligation. In males, Sterilization involves the surgical closing of tubes (vas deferens) that carry sperms. It is also known as a vasectomy.
Go ahead with visiting your doctor/gynecologist for further detailed discussion and evaluation. Your gynecologist is the best to decide which method would be good and safe for you based on your health condition and necessity. Hope this helps.
"Ask a Doctor" questions are answered by certified physicians and other medical professionals.
For more information about experts participating in the "Ask a Doctor" Network, please visit our
medical experts page.
You may also visit our Birth Control , for moderated patient to patient support and information.
The information provided on eHealth Forum is designed to improve, not replace, the relationship between a patient and his/her own physician.
Personal consultation(s) with a qualified medical professional is the proper means for diagnosing any medical condition.