How does it differ from hormonal birth control methods?
Hormonal contraceptives, like the birth control pill and hormonal implants, change a woman’s hormone profile to keep her body from falling pregnant. It is a reliable, easy method of contraception, but unfortunately, the pill does come with some side effects. There are women who cannot deal with the side effects, and many look for alternate ways to prevent pregnancy. The most common side effects of the pill include:
- Your risk for breast cancer is raised, due to higher estrogen levels. Some tumours feed and thrive on estrogen.
- Other side effects like mood swings and weight gain could also take place.
- A higher risk of blood clots, or deep-vein-thrombosis, is also known to occur.
For the hormonal pill to be 100% effective, you need to remember to take it at the same time every day.
Non-hormonal birth control is any method that does not have an effect on a woman’s normal, natural hormone levels.
What choices are there for the non-hormonal contraception method?
Fortunately, in this day and age, there are several options to choose from when it comes to birth control.
Here are some suggestions for non-hormonal methods:
- The first that comes to mind is obviously the condom, although the planned parenthood rate is only 85% effective because it can slip off or break.
- The so-called pull-out method before ejaculation could work – but it’s highly risky and is not recommended unless one is desperate.
- Studies have shown that the copper IUD, a device that is easily inserted by a doctor, is 99% effective, and lasts up to 12 years. This device prevents sperm from getting to the egg so that pregnancy does not happen. It can also be removed if required.
- This is a saucer-shaped silicone cup that at first needs to be fitted by the doctor, after which you are able to do it yourself. However, it needs to be done correctly or you can have a slight chance (6%) of falling pregnant.
Note that no matter which birth control method you opt for, none of them protect you from getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) The condom may your best bet to avoid picking up an STI, especially if you have more than one partner. But even the condom is not altogether full-proof, but your odds of avoiding an infection will be quite high.
The morning after pill
This pill contains a hormone known as levonorgestrel, which is only to be used in an emergency such as if your contraceptive method has failed, a condom has broken, or you have had unprotected sex. It must not be used as a regular contraceptive as it will not be effective, and may result in unpleasant side effects.
Most of the research has been done with women in mind. And most of the birth control methods have to be used by women. Scientists are nevertheless consistently working on developing more options that might work for men to use.
At this stage, experts agree that if couples no longer want any more children, then a vasectomy will be an excellent no-fuss method to prevent pregnancy.
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