Which methods of contraception are there?
In the last 50 years, the number of contraception methods has dramatically increased. You can differentiate between different types of contraception based on how they work: there are barrier methods (e.g. condoms or a cervical cap), hormonal methods (e.g the pill), intrauterine devices (IUD) and sterilization.
Emergency contraception (morning after pill) is another method, but we will only review “planned contraception” here.
Most types of contraceptives work by:
a) preventing an egg from being released every month (hormones)
b) preventing sperms from reaching the egg (barrier and some IUD methods)
c) blocking the reproductive function – in men or women (sterilization)
d) preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus (hormones)
The condom and the pill consistently rank at the top as the most commonly used types of contraception.
The contraceptive pill was invented in 1960. Fifty years on, many new inventions have been added to the list of available contraception methods, but the pill remains the most popular form of female contraception.
The contraceptive pill will prevent you from getting pregnant in 95% of cases and it comes close to providing 99% protection if you take one pill every day as prescribed.
The pill can come in two forms: the combined contraceptive pill (containing the hormones estrogen and progestin) or the mini-pill (only progestin). In the case of the mini-pill, it’s important that you take your pill every day at the same time (you should not be late by more than three hours).
Keep in mind that the pill does not provide any protection against STIs and that a doctor’s prescription is required to buy it.
The Male Condom
Among the different types of contraceptives, the male condom is a strong contender to the title of most common contraception method. It is easy to use, affordable and offers the best protection against STIs (e.g. gonorrhoea, chlamydia, HIV).
condom are usually made of latex, but if you are allergic to latex, some brands also specialize in condoms made of polyurethane or lambskin. These two are also compatible with lube (latex condoms are not, unless with water-based lubricant); however lambskin condoms do not provide protection against STIs.
For safety reasons, make sure you use a new condom each time you have sex.
Spermicide is a birth control method that contains chemicals that stop sperm from moving. Spermicides are available in different forms, including creams, film, foams, Contraceptive Gel, and suppositories. Spermicide can be used alone, or it can be used with otherbirth control methods to make them more effective.