Some easy to use birth control methods

  • Contraceptive pill. This is a very successful birth control method and is almost 100% effective if used as directed. The most popular type uses hormones estrogen and progestin to prevent ovulation. There are some manageable side effects, which do not affect everyone in the same way. Included is breast tenderness, spotting, raised blood pressure, and a risk of blood clots. There is no protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) A doctor’s script is needed.
  • Birth control patch. The patch is popular among women who sometimes forget to take the pill. It releases the same hormones as are in the pill and works just as well. You wear it on your skin for 3 weeks, go without it for a week, then restart the cycle. Needs a script from the doctor, and does not protect against STIs.
  • Birth control injection. This hormonal shot protects against pregnancy for 3 months. It has been reported by some experts that it actually works better than the pill, and only 3% of users get pregnant in a year. The injection needs to be given by a doctor or qualified clinic sister. Does not protect against STIs.
  • The implant. This is tiny rod is the size of a matchstick, and is inserted by a medical doctor under the skin of a woman’s upper arm. It protects against pregnancy for 3 years before it has to be removed. The failure rate has been estimated to be less than 1%, and it releases the same hormone as that of the injection shot. There may be some minor side effects. Doesn’t protect against STIs.
  • Copper intrauterine device (IUD) This is fitted by a doctor inside a woman’s uterus. The copper IUD is non-hormonal and can be effective for up to 10 years. However, if you use a hormonal IUD, it has to be replaced after 3 to 5 years. Both types work the same, making it very difficult for sperm to fertilise the egg. It was noted that hormonal IUDs may make periods shorter and lighter. An annual checkup is needed by a doctor to make sure that it has not slipped out of place. No protection against STIs.
  • Phexxi. This is a new birth control gel that can be used in place of spermicide. Spermicide kills the sperm so that it cannot fertilise the egg, although perfectly safe to use, it contains chemicals that may irritate the sensitive skin of the uterus. A healthy vagina is acidic and attractive to sperm. Phexxi is alkaline which weakens the sperm so it dies before it can get to an acid environment and fertilise the egg.

These are just some of the easy-to-use birth control options suitable for women. There are many others, such as the female condom, the cervix cap, the diaphragm etc. Obviously, you must choose one which will suit your lifestyle, as well as your sex life.

An old standby, the male condom, could be an easy choice if you are undecided. The reliable, good quality latex condom blocks sperm from entering a woman’s body. Although there are risks such as a condom tearing or slipping, it is still reasonably safe. A condom is also recommended for safe sex and puts a stumbling block in the way of the sexual spreading of STIs. This alone makes it worthwhile to use a condom, even if you are using it with another method of contraception. Condoms are inexpensive and are definitely not reusable.

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March 28, 2022 — Colin Katz