There are so many options when it comes to contraception that sometimes it can get a little overwhelming. Contraception was developed for all the right reasons; to keep unwanted pregnancy at bay, and to bring down the risk of getting Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). However, when the facts get cloudy, it’s no surprise that people often take risks and indulge in unsafe sex. With an estimated 40% of pregnancies being completely unplanned, and an estimated 1 million STIs being acquired each day globally, it is really crucial for your sexual health to use contraception while having sex, even with someone you are familiar with and love. In this article, we give you the real facts about some contraceptive methods, so you can narrow down on the method that suits you and your partner.
The Withdrawal Method
It can be very appealing to use the withdrawal method. It does not include any penetration and when done correctly, couples only have a 4% chance of pregnancy within a year. However, this is the issue. It exposes you to low chance of pregnancy when done correctly, but of course, humans generally don’t end up doing things perfectly. On average, the withdrawal technique has a 22% failure rate, making it truly an ineffective method of contraception.
An extensively taken contraceptive method by women, when taken correctly, has a 99% effectiveness rate against uninvited pregnancy. But, the pill has very specific conditions on how it’s used. The most regular pill, the combined pill (COC), must be taken each day, or 21 days out of 28 in a woman’s menstrual cycle. During the break of seven days, the woman will usually experience her period, before she starts her next course of pills. Another common pill is the Progestogen-only pill (POP) which must be consumed every day, with no breaks, between pills. The effectiveness of the pill heavily relies on the stipulations being followed, and if they are not, its effects may be weakened.
This type of contraception works by keeping the egg apart from the sperm and must be introduced inside your vagina before sex, covering the cervix. When coupled with spermicide and used perfectly, it is between 92 – 96% effective against uninvited pregnancy. However, some women may not prefer it because it should be kept in the vagina for at least 6 hours after sex for it to be absolutely effective. Moreover, as a result of using diaphragms, some women are exposed to the risk of developing cystitis and unlike condoms, diaphragms only offer little protection against STIs.
Intrauterine System (IUS)
The IUS is a long-term method of contraception, staying with you for up to 5-10 years. This process involves a plastic device being inserted into the uterus to prevent ovulation, and it affords you with 99% effectiveness rate. There is a notion that it can affect future fertility, but this is wrong. They are safe to use, but they might not be best suited for some women, for instance, if she has an untreated STI. Also, some women may not appreciate the prospect of a medical procedure.
The vaginal ring is a tiny ring made of soft plastic that is inserted inside the vagina. It should be kept inside your vagina for 21 days, then removed and discharged in a special disposal bag (not thrown down the toilet). Seven days after you remove the ring, a new one should be introduced for the next 21 days. When used perfectly, studies have indicated that the effectiveness of Vaginal ring can be more than that of COCs. But, it can lead to vaginal bleeding for the first few months of use, and it doesn’t safeguard you from STIs.
The contraceptive patch, also called as the birth control patch, is a new type of contraception, which came into the market in year 2002. The advantage of this product is that it can be placed on almost all areas of the body, as long as the skin is clean, dry, and hair-less. A patch should be applied once a week for three weeks, before going patch-free for a week. Midst the patch-free week you will get a withdrawal bleed akin to a period, although this might not happen always. While it is extremely easy to use and it can also help in making your periods regular and painful, the patch can lead to skin irritation and soreness, and it does not safeguard you from STIs.
Some people refrain from using condoms as they think they are not safe, and they break easily. However, male condoms afford you with 98% effectiveness rate when used perfectly, and is one of the safest method of contraception. Also, they are one of those forms of contraception that protects you from both pregnancy and STI’s. The male condom is extensively available and is easy to use. However, there is another belief that condoms lessen the sensation of having sex. While this might be the truth with condoms earlier, with huge developments in condom manufacturing, this no longer should need be your worry. New Durex Air condoms are our thinnest condom ever. Thinner than a human hair, they are customized to amplify sensitivity during sex, while providing a high level of security.
This infographic helps in breaking down the facts about contraception and also introduce couples to the different types of contraception options they can adopt to avoid unwanted pregnancy.