With millions of unwanted pregnancies happening every year, birth control is not only a responsible thing to use, but it also healthy.
While many individuals seem to believe birth control for women is a relatively new invention, it has actually been around for centuries. Primitive diaphragm like devices have been found in a variety of ancient cultures. It has only been since the 20th century that birth control has evolved from a physical barrier to a hormonal one in women.
A variety of types of contraception are available to women. Generally, these “birth control pills” as they are commonly referred to are by prescription only. There is a significant amount of literature available on the differences between each type, and the proper research should be done before beginning a birth control regimen.
Additionally, there are “contragestion” methods that are used after sexual intercourse, the most widely used one currently being the “Plan B” or “Morning After Pill”.
Birth Control Contraception
Contraception methods of birth control are by far the most common. These generally include barrier methods, inject-able contraception methods, and hormonal contraception methods.
Amongst the barrier methods, the two most commonly used forms are the diaphragm and the condom. The condom is worn by the male, whereas the diaphragm applied by the female. A diaphragm is a barrier at the cervix, generally made out of silicone or soft latex.
It is shaped like a dome, with a spring molded into the rim which creates a seal against the walls of the vagina. The diaphragm is often used in conjunction with spermicidal lubricant, which increases its effectiveness even more. They are usually re-usable, and must remain inside the vagina for six to eight hours after intercourse is concluded.
The diaphragm should be removed for cleaning every twenty four hours. Latex diaphragms can last up to three years, whilst silicone diaphragms can last up to ten years. Their failure rate within the first year with proper use is less than one percent. This proper use should be researched and understood first, however.
Hormonal contraception is most commonly in the form of a daily or monthly pill. Inject-able contraception can be performed as rarely as every three to six months.
Birth Control Contragestion
Contragestion includes intra-uterine barriers and “emergency contraception”. Intrauterine devices can be hormonal or copper based, and must be inserted by a physician. Depending on the nature of the device, it can either work through progesterone or by disrupting the flow of sperm and the ability of an embryo to implant itself. These devices, however, are not what is considered “widely used”.
Emergency contraception, the most common form of which is Plan-B, is a one-dose tablet taken the following morning or as soon as possible. The effectiveness of this pill is reduced exponentially as time passes between intercourse and when the dose is actually taken. As such, it should be taken immediately. Plan-B can be found at most pharmacies in the United States, though it is currently the subject of varying legislation as it has only recently hit the wider market.