What is contraception?
Contraception is the means to avoid pregnancy. It may be achieved by use of either contraceptive devices of by natural abstinence
Which are the commonly used contraceptives?
Oral contraceptive pills (OCP) and condoms are the most reliable and commonly used contraceptive methods.
What are the natural ways of contraception?
Natural ways include abstinence from sex, timing sexual intercourse with menstrual cycle (avoiding in mid cycle as that is the time the egg is released from the ovary and that is the time chances of pregnancy are highest) or withdrawing the penis from the vagina before ejaculation.
Are there any operations to ensure contraception?
Operative procedures like tubectomy (cutting the Fallopian tube that carries the egg from the ovary to uterus) in females and vasectomy in males (tube that carries the sperm) serve as permanent contraceptive measures and offer 100% protection.
What are the various methods of contraceptive?
There are several methods of contraception that can be used in males or females. In females, common contraceptives used are:
In males the contraceptive method used commonly is condom. It needs to be worn just ejaculation. It is a very useful contraceptive method and also prevents transmission of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, syphilis and gonorrhea. However the condom may leak or tear and thus may not be 100% effective. A common hindrance to its usage is the belief that condoms hamper sexual pleasure, and a rare side effect is a latex allergy for either partner.
- Hormonal pills also called as Oral contraceptive pills (OCP). It consists of a combination of the estrogen and progesterone hormone. It inhibits the formation of the egg (ovum) for as long as the pills are continued. These are the most reliable of the various contraceptives. The pills are to be taken daily. Now days, injections of long acting hormones (mainly of progesterone) are also available, which remain in the body for 60-80 days and exert the same effect as that of the pills. The advantage of the injections is that they have to be taken only once in three months. Also now an emergency pill is available that can be taken within 24-48 hours after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. It is also called as morning after pill. The side effects of hormonal contraceptives are temporary weight gain, sodium (salt) retention, white vaginal discharge, reduced bleeding during the monthly periods, etc. Also use of it long term can lead to increased risk of deep vein thrombosis and liver disease.
- Intra uterine contraceptive devices (IUCDs) also popularly known as Copper T. They are useful in women who have already had one or more children. It involves the insertion of a metallic loop covered with very thin copper wire, into the uterus. The side effects are heavy bleeding during menses, vaginal infection and pain in lower abdomen. Whenever the contraceptive is not required, it can be simply removed.
- Female condoms: The female condom has a flexible ring at each end - one secures behind the pubic bone to hold the condom in place, while the other ring stays outside the vagina. Thus it prevents the entry of the sperm into the uterus. They need to inserted just before intercourse. Similar to female condoms are diaphragms and cervical rings which are less effective.
- Vaginal spermicides are tablets that are inserted into the vagina before intercourse. They make the sperms ineffective and are less protective when used alone. However when used with the female condom, protection rate is higher.