Shukan_logo

Birth control

What is Birth control (Contraception)?

Birth control, also known as contraception, refers to methods or devices used to prevent pregnancy. These methods work by interfering with the process of fertilization or implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. Birth control allows individuals to plan and space pregnancies according to their desires and circumstances.

Birth control (Contraception) Methods

There are various birth control methods available, each offering different levels of effectiveness, convenience, and suitability.

A. Hormonal Methods

These methods involve the use of hormones to prevent ovulation or thicken cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg. This category includes:

  • Birth control pills

    • Description: Birth control pills, also known as oral contraceptives, are medications containing synthetic hormones, typically estrogen and progestin, that are taken orally to prevent pregnancy.
    • Mechanism: These hormones work by suppressing ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary), thickening cervical mucus to block sperm, and thinning the lining of the uterus to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.
    • Effectiveness: When taken consistently and correctly, birth control pills are highly effective at preventing pregnancy, with a typical use effectiveness rate of around 91%. However, missing pills or taking them at irregular intervals can decrease their effectiveness.
  • Birth control patches

    • Description: Birth control patches are adhesive patches worn on the skin that release hormones (typically estrogen and progestin) into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy.
    • Mechanism: Similar to birth control pills, the hormones in the patch work by suppressing ovulation, thickening cervical mucus, and thinning the uterine lining to prevent pregnancy.
    • Effectiveness: When used correctly, birth control patches are highly effective at preventing pregnancy, with a typical use effectiveness rate of around 91%. Like birth control pills, consistency in wearing and replacing the patches is crucial for optimal effectiveness.
  • Birth control injections

    • Description: Birth control injections, also known as Depo-Provera or the birth control shot, involve administering progestin hormones via injection every few months to prevent pregnancy.
    • Mechanism: The progestin hormone in the injection works by suppressing ovulation and thickening cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg.
    • Effectiveness: Birth control injections are highly effective at preventing pregnancy, with a typical use effectiveness rate of around 94%. However, receiving injections on time is essential for maintaining effectiveness.
  • Hormonal Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)

    • Description: Hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs) are small, T-shaped devices inserted into the uterus by a healthcare provider. They release hormones (typically progestin) locally to prevent pregnancy.
    • Mechanism: The hormones in the IUD work by thickening cervical mucus, inhibiting sperm movement, and possibly preventing ovulation. They also create an environment in the uterus that is inhospitable to sperm, preventing fertilization.
    • Effectiveness: Hormonal IUDs are among the most effective forms of birth control, with a typical use effectiveness rate of over 99%. Once inserted, they provide long-term contraception, typically lasting between 3 to 5 years, depending on the specific type of IUD.

B. Barrier Methods

These methods block sperm from reaching the egg. This category includes:

  • Male condoms

    • Description: Male condoms are sheaths made of latex, polyurethane, or natural materials such as lambskin, which are worn over the erect penis during sexual intercourse.
    • Mechanism: Male condoms create a physical barrier that prevents sperm from entering the vagina and reaching the cervix, thereby reducing the risk of pregnancy. Additionally, condoms provide protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by blocking the transmission of infectious fluids.
    • Effectiveness: When used consistently and correctly, male condoms are highly effective at preventing pregnancy and reducing the risk of STIs. However, their effectiveness can be influenced by factors such as improper use, breakage, or slippage. On average, male condoms have a typical use effectiveness rate of around 85%.
  • Female condoms

    • Description: Female condoms, also known as internal condoms, are pouches made of polyurethane or nitrile that are inserted into the vagina before intercourse.
    • Mechanism: Similar to male condoms, female condoms create a physical barrier that prevents sperm from entering the cervix. They cover the inside of the vagina and the cervix, providing protection against pregnancy and STIs.
    • Effectiveness: Female condoms are less commonly used than male condoms but are still effective when used consistently and correctly. They have a typical use effectiveness rate of around 79%. Proper insertion and positioning are essential for optimal effectiveness.
  • Diaphragms

    • Description: Diaphragms are dome-shaped devices made of silicone that are inserted into the vagina before intercourse to cover the cervix.
    • Mechanism: Diaphragms function by physically blocking sperm from entering the uterus. They are typically used in conjunction with spermicide to increase effectiveness by immobilizing and killing sperm.
    • Effectiveness: The effectiveness of diaphragms depends on correct placement and consistent use. They have a typical use effectiveness rate ranging from 71% to 88%. Regular refitting may be necessary to ensure proper fit and effectiveness.
  • Cervical caps

    • Description: Cervical caps are small, cup-shaped devices made of silicone that are placed over the cervix before intercourse.
    • Mechanism: Similar to diaphragms, cervical caps create a barrier that prevents sperm from entering the uterus. They are also used with spermicide to enhance effectiveness.
    • Effectiveness: Cervical caps have a typical use effectiveness rate similar to diaphragms, ranging from 71% to 88%. Proper placement and use of spermicide are crucial for effectiveness.
  • Contraceptive sponges

    • Description: Contraceptive sponges are soft, round devices made of polyurethane foam that are inserted into the vagina before intercourse.
    • Mechanism: Contraceptive sponges contain spermicide and create a barrier over the cervix to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. They absorb and immobilize sperm, reducing the risk of pregnancy.
    • Effectiveness: Contraceptive sponges are less effective than other barrier methods and have a typical use effectiveness rate of around 76%. They must be inserted correctly and left in place for a specified period before and after intercourse to maximize effectiveness.

C. Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC)

These methods provide long-term contraception with minimal user intervention. This category includes:

  • Copper Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)

    • Description: Copper IUDs are small, T-shaped devices inserted into the uterus by a healthcare provider. They contain copper wire or copper sleeves along the arms and/or stem of the device.
    • Mechanism: Copper ions released by the device create an inhospitable environment for sperm, impairing their motility and viability. This prevents fertilization of the egg. Additionally, copper may have a spermicidal effect, further enhancing the contraceptive effect.
    • Effectiveness: Copper IUDs are highly effective at preventing pregnancy, with a typical use effectiveness rate of over 99%. They can provide contraception for up to 10 years, depending on the specific device used.
  • Hormonal Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)

    • Description: Hormonal IUDs are also small, T-shaped devices inserted into the uterus by a healthcare provider. They contain a reservoir of progestin hormone, which is released slowly into the uterus over time.
    • Mechanism: Hormonal IUDs work by thickening cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg. They may also inhibit ovulation in some women, although this is not the primary mechanism of action.
    • Effectiveness: Hormonal IUDs are highly effective at preventing pregnancy, with a typical use effectiveness rate of over 99%. They can provide contraception for 3 to 7 years, depending on the specific device used.
  • Contraceptive implants

    • Description: Contraceptive implants are small, flexible rods about the size of a matchstick that are inserted under the skin of the upper arm by a healthcare provider.
    • Mechanism: The implant contains a progestin hormone, which is released slowly into the bloodstream over time. This hormone prevents ovulation, thickens cervical mucus to block sperm, and may also thin the lining of the uterus to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.
    • Effectiveness: Contraceptive implants are highly effective at preventing pregnancy, with a typical use effectiveness rate of over 99%. They can provide contraception for up to 3 years, depending on the specific type of implant used.

D. Permanent Methods

It involves surgical procedures to permanently prevent pregnancy. This category includes:

  • Tubal ligation (for women)

    • Description: Tubal ligation, also known as “getting your tubes tied,” is a surgical procedure for women that involves blocking, cutting, or sealing the fallopian tubes. This prevents eggs from traveling from the ovaries to the uterus, thereby preventing fertilization.
    • Mechanism: During tubal ligation, the fallopian tubes are either clamped shut with special clips or bands, sealed with rings or loops, or cut and tied. This blocks the pathway that eggs travel through, preventing sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg.
    • Effectiveness: Tubal ligation is a highly effective form of permanent birth control, with a success rate of over 99%. Once the fallopian tubes are sealed or cut, the likelihood of pregnancy is extremely low. However, there is a very small risk of ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus) if the procedure fails.
  • Vasectomy (for men)

    • Description: Vasectomy is a surgical procedure for men that involves cutting or sealing the vas deferens, the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the urethra. This prevents sperm from being ejaculated during ejaculation.
    • Mechanism: During a vasectomy, the vas deferens are either cut, tied, or sealed to prevent the passage of sperm. This prevents sperm from mixing with semen during ejaculation, effectively rendering the man sterile.
    • Effectiveness: Vasectomy is also a highly effective form of permanent birth control, with a success rate of over 99%. Once the vas deferens are cut or sealed, sperm cannot travel from the testicles to the urethra, making it nearly impossible for pregnancy to occur. However, it may take a few months and several ejaculations before the semen is completely free of sperm, so backup contraception is necessary during this time.

How does Birth control work?

The mechanism of action varies depending on the type of birth control method used. Hormonal methods prevent ovulation, thicken cervical mucus to impede sperm movement, and thin the uterine lining to inhibit implantation. Barrier methods physically block sperm from reaching the egg, while LARC methods prevent fertilization by altering the uterine environment. Permanent methods involve blocking or severing the fallopian tubes (tubal ligation) or vas deferens (vasectomy) to prevent sperm from reaching the egg.

How to choose the best option for Birth control (Contraception)?

Choosing the best birth control option involves considering various factors such as health status, lifestyle, preferences, and contraceptive goals. To choose the most suitable option:

  • Consult with a healthcare provider to assess individual needs and preferences.
  • Discuss the advantages, disadvantages, and potential side effects of each method.
  • Consider factors such as effectiveness, convenience, reversibility, and cost.
  • Evaluate personal preferences regarding hormone use, frequency of administration, and method of application.
  • Be open to try different methods until you find the one that best fits your needs.

Why choose Shukan Hospital & IVF Centre in Ahmedabad for your Birth control needs?

When you choose Shukan Hospital & IVF Centre for your birth control needs, you can expect:

  • Expertise of experienced gynecologists specializing in contraception.
  • Access to a comprehensive range of contraception methods.
  • Personalized guidance and support throughout your decision-making process.
  • State-of-the-art facilities and advanced technology for safe procedures.
  • Confidential and compassionate care in a supportive environment.

FAqs

What is emergency contraception?

It is also known as the “morning-after pill,” is a method used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. It works by preventing ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized egg. Emergency contraception should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse for optimal effectiveness.

Is birth control safe?

Yes, most birth control methods are safe when used correctly and under the guidance of a healthcare provider. However, some methods may carry certain risks or side effects, which should be discussed with a healthcare provider before use.

Will birth control protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?

No, most birth control methods do not protect against STIs. Only condoms provide protection against STIs when used consistently and correctly.

Can I switch birth control methods if I'm not satisfied with my current one?

Yes, you can switch birth control methods if your current method is not meeting your needs or if you experience side effects. Consult with a healthcare provider to discuss alternative options.

Are there birth control methods suitable for breastfeeding individuals?

Yes, certain birth control methods are safe for breastfeeding individuals. Hormonal methods such as progestin-only pills, contraceptive implants, and hormonal IUDs are often recommended for breastfeeding individuals.

How soon after stopping birth control can I get pregnant?

The time it takes to conceive after stopping birth control varies depending on the method used and individual factors. While some people may ovulate and become pregnant immediately after discontinuing hormonal birth control, others may experience a delay in fertility restoration.

Are there birth control methods suitable for people with certain medical conditions or allergies?

Yes, there are birth control options suitable for individuals with specific medical conditions or allergies. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider to discuss medical history and any potential contraindications before choosing a birth control method.

Can I skip my period while using hormonal birth control?

Yes, many hormonal birth control methods allow for menstrual cycle manipulation, allowing individuals to skip or reduce the frequency of their periods. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider before attempting to skip periods, as not all methods are suitable for this purpose.

Will birth control affect my fertility in the long term?

For most people, fertility returns to normal shortly after discontinuing birth control, especially non-permanent methods. However, certain factors, such as age and underlying fertility issues, can influence fertility outcomes. It’s advisable to discuss fertility concerns with a healthcare provider.

Can birth control cause weight gain?

While some individuals may experience slight weight changes when using hormonal birth control, scientific evidence does not consistently support a significant link between birth control and weight gain. Any weight changes experienced are typically minor and temporary.

Are there birth control methods suitable for teenagers or young adults?

Yes, there are birth control options suitable for teenagers and young adults. Healthcare providers may recommend methods such as birth control pills, hormonal patches, or condoms, considering factors such as effectiveness, convenience, and individual preferences.

Will birth control affect my libido (sex drive)?

Some individuals may experience changes in libido while using hormonal birth control, although this effect is not universal. If changes in libido occur, it’s essential to discuss them with a healthcare provider to explore potential solutions or alternative methods.

Can I get pregnant if I miss a birth control pill or forget to use a contraceptive method?

Missing a birth control pill or failing to use a contraceptive method correctly increases the risk of pregnancy. If a pill is missed or a method is used incorrectly, follow the instructions provided with the specific method or consult with a healthcare provider for guidance on backup contraception.