Contraceptive technology has progressed far beyond condoms and birth control pills; contraceptive availability is higher than ever, which is especially important for sexually active individuals in high-risk areas or countries. Birth control comes in a number of forms, from simple pills to implanted and injected forms of birth control. Talk to a doctor about benefits and health risks of birth control.
Condoms and Birth Control
Latex condoms are the most common forms of contraception; the latex is designed with a reservoir that prevents semen from entering a sexual partner during intercourse. Using a condom helps individuals prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduces the risk of spreading sexually transmitted disease. Condoms have been shown to be 97 to 99 percent effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy. (Source: World Health Organization)
Condoms designed specifically for women are also available; these condoms are act in the same way a traditional condom does, but they are inserted into the vagina prior to intercourse.
Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills are traditionally taken as oral contraceptives; the low dose of hormones in each daily pill keep the body from ovulating and help reduce the risk of becoming pregnant. This form of birth control is taken daily in pill form and requires a prescription from a doctor.
Alternative Forms of Birth Control
Other forms of birth control, such as vaginal rings and intra-uterine devices (IUDs) can be inserted into the vaginal canal to prevent pregnancy. This type of birth control lasts for one month and must be inserted by a doctor. IUDs and vaginal rings release a dose of hormones similar to those found in daily birth control pills
Birth control patches that are replaced daily are another form of birth control; they work in a manner similar to nicotine patches and help regulate a woman’s hormones to prevent her from becoming pregnant.
A relatively new form of birth control is called Implanon; it is a small rod that is surgically implanted into a woman’s arm and it prevents pregnancy for up to three years, at which point it must be removed. There are some risks with a device like Implanon; if it is not inserted properly, the birth control may not be effective and the rod can become difficult to remove.
When choosing a form of birth control, it is important to discuss all risk factors with a doctor. Smoking, drinking and health-related issues can all make birth control ineffective or dangerous for certain individuals. Take care in choosing any form of birth control to reduce the risk of illness or complications.