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Contraception: choosing the method that suits you

Choosing the right contraceptive method can be a daunting task, and it heavily depends on your personal needs. Some individuals might only require protection against pregnancy, while others may also require protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as AIDS, chlamydia, herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, and syphilis. It is recommended that you speak to your family doctor to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each contraceptive method.

The effectiveness of each contraceptive method depends on the method used correctly and consistently. Hormonal implants have a 0.05% risk of contraceptive failure, while male sterilization (vasectomy), birth control pills, and Navy range from 0.1-1.5%. Injectable hormonal contraceptives have a 0.3% contraceptive failure rate, while female sterilization has a 0.5% failure rate. Male condoms and female condoms have a 3% and 5% failure rate, respectively, while diaphragms with spermicides and spermicides alone have a 6% failure rate. Cervical caps have a 9% failure rate in nulliparous women, while abstinence and neck caps in women who have given birth have a 9% and 26% failure rate, respectively.

Barrier methods of contraception, such as diaphragms, neck caps, and condoms, can prevent pregnancy by blocking the penetration of sperm into the uterus. It is essential to note that these methods must be used during every sexual encounter. It is also important to visit your doctor to determine the correct size of the diaphragm or neck cap.

Condoms are an excellent option if you or your partner has had multiple sexual partners in the past. They provide the best protection against STDs. The use of spermicides together with condoms can also prevent unwanted pregnancy, but may not be suitable for everyone. Some spermicides containing nonoxynol-9 may cause irritation of the genitals and increase the risk of contracting STDs. Female condoms are not as effective as male condoms but may be a good solution if a man refuses to use a male condom.

Birth control pills work by suppressing ovulation, and most contain two hormones: estrogen and progestin. While pills can relieve pain, cramps, and reduce the number of days of menstrual discharge during the menstrual cycle, they have side effects, such as nausea, headaches, breast swelling, moisture retention in the body, weight gain, and depression. To be effective, the pills must be taken every day, and women taking them should not smoke.

Hormonal contraceptive patches contain estrogen and progestin, which are absorbed into the body through the skin to protect against pregnancy. The patch can be placed on the buttocks, abdomen, upper torso, or outside of the arm. Sterilization is a surgical procedure that prevents pregnancy for life. Female sterilization involves blocking the fallopian tubes, while male sterilization, also known as vasectomy, involves blocking the vas deferens to prevent the release of sperm.

Natural methods of family planning require a couple to determine when a woman is in her fertile phase of the menstrual cycle. Couples can avoid intercourse during this time to prevent pregnancy.


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