Some Options For Birth Control

Listed in order of effectiveness, here are the current options for birth control. Preventing pregnancy is no longer the determining factor in choosing a birth control method. Avoiding the AIDS virus and other sexually transmitted diseases are also considerations. With the exception of abstinence, no form of birth control is 100 percent effective.

 EFFECTIVENESS

 METHOD

 DESCRIPTION  PROS  CONS
 99.7% Sterilization -Tubal Ligation This is the most common surgical procedure used to sterilize females. Tubal ligation blocks the fallopian tubes so a woman’s eggs can’t travel down the tubes to meet sperm. This is a permanent form of birth control. Doesn’t protect against the AIDS virus and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
 99.6% Depo-Provera A prescription female contraceptive that is injected every three months. This is a synthetic version of the female hormone progesterone, which blocks ovulation High rate of effectiveness and it may reduce a woman’s risk of developing uterine cancer. Can cause irregular periods, weight gain, fatigue and headaches. Fertility can be affected four to 18 months after termination. Doesn’t provide protection against the AIDS virus or other STDs.
 99.5% Norplant Thin capsules are placed under a woman’s skin in her upper arm. These capsules release a hormone that prevents ovulation. One insertion of capsules is good for up to six years and they can be removed at any time and fertility will return almost immediately. A prescription is required and a health care provider must insert the capsules. More expensive than oral contraceptives and more than one surgery may be required for removal. Some patients experience irregular periods. Doesn’t protect against the AIDS virus or other STDs.
 94% “The Pill” Hormones are taken orally every day to prevent ovulation. Regular periods and lighter menstrual flow are common. May reduce the chances of uterine and ovarian cancers and pelvic inflammatory disease. A prescription is required for this method. Smokers and women with a history of heart disease should not use this method. Oral contraceptives don’t protect against the AIDS virus and other STDs.
 88% Cervical Cap Filled with spermicide, this cap fits snugly over the cervix to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. This method can be kept in place up to three days and there are no dangerous side effects. Learning to insert it properly can be difficult. May also cause an abnormal Pap smear test. Should not be worn during menstruation. Doesn’t protect against the AIDS virus or other STDS.
 82% Diaphragm This is a dome-shaped device that covers the cervix. Spermicide is applied to both the inside and outside of the device prior to inserting it into the vagina. Can be used over and over with no dangerous side effects. Offers some protection against the AIDS virus and other STDs when used with a spermicide containing Nonoxynol 9. This method requires a prescription and it must be kept in place in the vagina for six hours after intercourse. Insertion of the diaphragm can be tricky and it may dislodge during intercourse.
 75% Condom (Female) A female condom is larger than a male condom with a similar shape. It is inserted into the vagina like a lining with two rings, one ring fits around the outer rim and one ring fits inside over the cervix. Provides good protection against the AIDS virus and other STDs, especially when used with a male condom. Time and patience are required to learn how to use this device correctly. The cost is higher than a male condom. This method may reduce sexual spontaneity.
 70% Spermicides These are inserted into the vagina before intercourse. They kill the sperm before they enter the uterus. Readily available at most drug stores. Provides protection against the AIDS virus and other STDs when they contain Nonoxynol 9. Irritation can result from use. Must be inserted no more than 10 minutes prior to intercourse and may reduce spontaneity.

 

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