Contraception is a term that most of us have heard, but have shied away from knowing much about. In today’s world of swelling population and widespread AIDS problem, we need to rely on the contraception methods to stay on the safer side. Today, a female need not rely on her male partner for using contraception methods. There are a large number of female contraceptive options available in the market, which will not only help her in avoiding unwanted pregnancy, but also protect her from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). However, a female should consult a gynecologist and keep the wishes of her partner in mind, before deciding on the contraceptives to be used.
IUD (Intra-uterine device)
Intra-uterine device is a device containing barium sulphate and sometimes copper, and is placed inside the womb of a female. The device releases hormones within the uterus, which either prevent fertilization of the egg or change the uterus lining in such a way that the egg in unable to implant. IUD can remain effective from 5 to 10 years. There are also IUDs that remain effective for one year only. This contraception method is cost effective as well as reliable. However, the problem is that it might cause bleeding or pelvic infection in a female as well as increase the chance of contracting STDs.
One of the most popular contraceptive options available in the market these days comprises of the oral contraceptive pill. The pill contains a combination of two synthetic hormones, oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones not only prevent ovaries from releasing eggs, but also thicken the cervical mucus to block sperm and even alter the endometrial lining to prevent implantation. The pill helps in contraception, is recommended for PMS patients, makes menses regular and even reduces the risk of pelvic disease. The disadvantages comprise of nausea and weight again. Women, who have blood clots, suffer from cardiac problems, blood pressure or liver tumors, should not use it.
Spermicides are chemical formations used for killing the sperms that have entered a woman's body. They are available in the form of creams, foams, gels or suppositories (that can be inserted inside the vagina). They basically comprise of Nonoxynol- 9 or Octoxynol. Spermicides are very easy to use and are said to provide protection against STDs also. However, one cannot completely rely on them and they are usually used along with other contraception methods, like condoms. Another problem is that some people are allergic to spermicides and the formation last for a little while only - usually an hour.
Diaphragm is a latex disc inserted inside a woman's body, to cover the cervix. The main use of the disc is to prevent sperms from entering the uterus. It is also filled with spermicide, so that if by any chance the sperm enters the uterus, it is rendered inactive. On an average, the diaphragm has been found to be effective 85% of the time. Other benefits are - it protects a female against pelvic inflammatory disease and STDs and even lowers the risk of cervical cancer. The problem is that the insertion is a bit difficult and may lead to urinary tract infections.
One of the recent methods of contraception available in the market comprises of the female condom. It is basically a thin sheath or pouch worn by a woman inside the vagina, during sex. The condom not only helps a female in avoiding unwanted pregnancy, but also provides her a protection against sexually transmitted diseases. The protection is made of polyurethane and nitrile and has very less chances of leading to an allergic reaction. They can be used with oil-based as well as water-based lubricants. However, the failure rate is higher in the cases of the condoms, as compared to the pill.