How Effective Is Your Contraception
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
We celebrate World Health Day on 7 April.
Being able to control if and when you have children is a big part of maintaining your health. So is choosing the right contraceptive method for you.
This month we compare the effectiveness of different contraceptive methods in preventing pregnancy. Different methods suit different people according to their age, life stage, finances and personality.
With no method of contraception, 85% of women in their 20s will become pregnant within one year.
We specifically look at effectiveness of preventing pregnancy here. Only condoms and diaphragms provide protection against both pregnancy and STIs.
Not Taking The Pills At The Same Time Each Day
In addition to taking birth control pills daily, a person should also take the pills at around the same time each day. This can maintain their hormone levels more consistently.
A person should always take the minipill within the same 3-hour time window every day. Someone who misses their window should use a backup birth control method for the next 2 days or avoid having sex.
Many people set a daily alarm reminding them to take their pill at the correct time each day.
How Do Birth Control Pills Work
You become pregnant when an egg released from your ovary is fertilized by sperm. The fertilized egg attaches to the inside of your womb , where it develops into a baby. Hormones in your body control the release of the egg from the ovary — called ovulation — and prepare your body to accept the fertilized egg.
Hormonal contraceptives all contain a small amount of human-made estrogen and progestin hormones. These hormones inhibit your body’s natural hormones to prevent pregnancy in a few ways. The hormonal contraceptive usually stops the body from ovulating. They also change the cervical mucus to make it difficult for the sperm to go through the cervix and find an egg. They can also prevent pregnancy by changing the lining of the womb so it’s unlikely the fertilized egg will be implanted.
Different types of birth control pills are available. If youâre thinking about using one of them, here’s what you should know to help you make a smart choice.
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So Whats The Best Birth Control
It all depends on you. For starters, youll want to consider what your goals are, what your lifestyle is like, how often you have sex, whether you have insurance, what you and your partner are comfortable with and what youre planning for the future.
Because every woman is different, the contraception that works best for your friends or family members may or may not be convenient or most effective for you. But regardless of the birth control method you end up choosing, use it as directed for the lowest chance of pregnancy.
Of course, youll want to talk to an OB-GYN to get personalized birth control advice. Your doctor can give you more details about each option, and theyll help you make a choice youll feel great about.
Taking time to make sure youve selected the best birth control option for you can give you more power over your choices. And thats well worth it for your health, your well-being, your peace of mind and your future.
Perfect Use Vs Typical Use: Contraception Theory Vs Reality
“Perfect use” refers to how well a specific form of birth control will prevent pregnancy in 100 women after a year has passed, if that method is used correctly every single time sex happens.
In the case of a condom for a man, for example, this means the condom is put on the penis as it is erect, but not when pre-ejaculate appears. The condom must completely cover the penis, and it cant be stretched, torn, or ripped before it is put on or while it is in use. It also needs to be removed properly, away from the vagina, so no collected sperm can accidentally spill or leak into the vagina accidentally.
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When To Call A Doctor
For many methods of birth control, you’ll need to see your doctor to get a prescription. If you want to start birth control, talk with your doctor about options that are right for you. And if you have problems with a birth control method, talk with your doctor. He or she may recommend another birth control method or help you solve the problem you are having.
What Are Barrier Methods Of Birth Control
Barrier methods work by blocking or killing sperm so it cant reach your egg. Some help protect you from STIs. Barrier methods include:
Barrier methods do require some effort by you or your partner. You have to have the method available when youre ready to have sex. And you have to use it correctly for it to prevent pregnancy.;
Barrier methods may have side effects, like:;
- Irritation, like vaginal burning
- A latex allergy. An allergy is a reaction to something you touch, eat or breathe in that makes you sneeze, itch, get a rash or have trouble breathing. If youre allergic to latex and you use a barrier method made of latex, you may have mild allergy symptoms, like a rash or hives . If you have a severe reaction to latex, you may have trouble breathing or pass out. If you think you have a latex allergy, talk to your provider.
- A condom may break or slip. This can increase your chance of getting pregnant.
- If you use spermicide that has nonoxynol-9 in it, it may increase your risk of getting HIV. Nonoxynol-9 is a substance in some spermicides that, if you use it a lot, can cause changes in your vagina that may make you more likely to get HIV.
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How Do These Rates Compare To Not Using Any Birth Control Method
The perfect-use and typical-use rates are often compared to the pregnancy rate for couples who are not using any method of birth control. Among 100 couples who use no birth control and regularly have sex, it is expected that about 85 of the female partners will become pregnant in a year .
Some people are physiologically less likely or completely unable to become pregnant or get someone pregnant. A personâs ability to get pregnant decreases with age . People who have sex less frequently are also less likely to get pregnant.
This is why perfect-use and typical-use rates shouldnât be interpreted as a personâs individual risk of pregnancy. For example, the phrase âa person who uses condoms correctly every time they have sex has a 2% chance of pregnancyâ is not correct. A personâs individual risk of pregnancy depends on a variety of factors.
Which Types Of Birth Control Can I Get Without A Prescription
You can buy these types of birth control over the counter at a drugstore or supermarket:
- Male condoms
- . Plan B One-Step® and its generic versions are available in drugstores and some supermarkets to anyone, without a prescription. However you should not use EC as your regular birth control because it does not work as well as regular birth control. EC is meant to be used only when your regular birth control does not work for some unexpected reason.
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What Are The Different Types Of Birth Control
Women can choose from many different types of birth control methods. These include, in order of most effective to least effective at preventing pregnancy:
- Female and male sterilization Birth control that prevents pregnancy for the rest of your life through surgery or a medical procedure.
- Long-acting reversible contraceptives or “LARC” methods Birth control your doctor inserts one time and you do not have to remember to use birth control every day or month. LARCs last for 3 to 10 years, depending on the method.
- Short-acting hormonal methods Birth control your doctor prescribes that you remember to take every day or month. The shot requires you to get a shot from your doctor every 3 months.
- Barrier methods Birth control you use each time you have sex.
- Natural rhythm methods Not using a type of birth control but instead avoiding sex and/or using birth control only on the days when you are most fertile . An can help you find your most fertile days.
What Should I Do Until My Next Period
The ECP will not last until your next period. If you are not taking a regular form of birth control, you should use condoms and foam if you have sex.
If you are already taking oral contraceptives but have missed some pills, start a new pack of pills the day after you take the ECP. The use of a condom is essential to prevent STIs.
If you want to start oral contraceptives or Depo-Provera , wait until your next period starts and use condoms and foam until then.
Your next period may be a little early or a little late; however, most women get their next period at about the regular time. If you dont have a normal period within three weeks after taking the ECP, you should have a pregnancy test to make sure you arent pregnant.
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Side Effects And Precautions
Hormonal contraceptives, including the patch, ring, and shots, may lead to side effects such as headache, sore breasts, nausea, acne, and mood changes. Not everyone will experience these side effects, and these side effects differ depending on the type of female hormone present in the contraceptives. ;
Some women cannot use hormonal birth control methods containing estrogen. These include women who are very overweight, are over 35 years of age and smoke, and have certain medical conditions such as breast cancer, problems with blood circulation, or experience migraines with aura.
Some of your medications may interact with hormonal contraception, so consult a healthcare provider to determine which birth control type is safest for you.
The LNG IUS may cause similar side effects as the hormonal contraceptive. Still, since it is also a device implanted into your womb, you may experience irregular bleeding for up to 6 months post-implantation. ;
With the copper IUD, you may experience some side effects such as irregular periods, spotting in between periods, heavier or more lengthy periods, or more painful periods.
Other than that, you might experience slight bleeding, pain, or bruising at the incision site for tubal ligation and vasectomy. There is a risk of infection or side effects from the anesthesia that was used.
Can You Get Pregnant While On Birth Control
Though very unlikely, it is possible to get pregnant while you’re on birth control. When used consistently, hormonal birth control uses some combination of estrogen and progestin to keep you from getting pregnant. It does this by:
Preventing ovulation: When you’re not on hormonal birth control, one of your ovaries will usually release an egg each cycle. If this egg is fertilized with sperm, it can lead to a pregnancy. If you don’t release an egg, you won’t get pregnant.
Affecting your cervical mucus: Cervical mucus is a natural substance made by your cervix. You’ve probably noticed it as a clear or white discharge on your underwear between periods. Some birth control can make this CM thicker, preventing sperm from successfully reaching the egg.
Making it harder for implantation to happen: After an egg is fertilized, it needs to implant in your uterine lining for you to get pregnant. Some hormonal birth control can lower your risk of pregnancy by making the uterine lining thinner, causing a fertilized egg to have a harder time attaching.
How well your birth control works to prevent pregnancy is measured by perfect use and typical use. Perfect use means you follow the directions exactly all the time, something that for many can be hard to actually achieve.Typical use generally looks more like normal life:
What Are Condoms And How Do They Work
A condom is a barrier form of birth control that prevents you from directly touching your partner. This is the best way to protect both of you from STIs. Its also an effective method of birth control since it stops the mans sperm from reaching the womans eggs.
There are three different kinds of condoms:
- Male condom: goes over the penis and collects semen when the man ejaculates.
- Female condom: also called an internal condom, this kind goes inside the womans vagina to prevent sperm from reaching the eggs.
- Dental dam: a special condom you can use during oral sex to prevent STIs.
Condoms can be made of latex, polyurethane, or lambskin. Latex condoms are the best choice since they dont break as easily and do a good job of preventing STIs. If you or your partner have a latex allergy, polyurethane condoms are the next best choice.
Some condoms are lubricated to reduce the friction created during sex. This helps to prevent the condom from breaking or tearing. Condoms may also be coated with spermicide, too. In case the condom does break, the spermicide can help slow the sperm down so it doesn’t reach the egg.
Birth Control Pills Prevent Pregnancy Through Two Different Mechanisms
All birth control pills use hormones to prevent pregnancy. Some contain a hormone called progestin. Others contain two hormones, progestin and estrogen. All of them work by doing two things: They prevent women from ovulating, and they cause the cervical mucus to thicken, which makes it more difficult for a sperm to penetrate and make contact with an egg if the woman is ovulating.
In a way, birth control mimics the body’s response to pregnancy.;”There is some truth to the idea that birth control pills trick your body into thinking you’re pregnant,” said Dr. Vanessa Cullins, Planned Parenthood’s vice president of external medical affairs. “When you’re pregnant, you don’t ovulate, and the cervical mucus is thickening to prevent anything from easily getting into your uterus.”
How Does The Birth Control Pill Work
Before one can fully appreciate what makes low-dose contraceptives different than other forms of birth control, its crucial to understand how the birth control pill works.The female reproductive system operates under a cycle of rising and falling estrogen, progesterone, and androgen hormones. At the beginning of the cycle, hormones steadily increase until the ovary is prompted to release an egg. Once this happens, hormones influence the uterus to grow an endometrial lining in preparation for a fertilized egg. If an egg is not fertilized within about 10 to 14 days after ovulation, the endometrium sheds, resulting in a menstrual period.
The pill disrupts the rising and falling of reproductive hormones by a steady dose of synthetic estrogen and progesterone. The endometrium is not signaled to grow to prepare a fertilized egg, and when women who take the pill have a menstrual period, its not really a period because ovulation did not occur. Monthly bleeding on the pill is referred to as withdrawal bleeding.
Naturally occurring estrogen in the female reproductive cycle is produced in the ovaries. Estrogen helps the uterus grow the lining that is responsible for the implantation of a fertilized egg.
What Is Birth Control
Birth control is any method used to prevent pregnancy. Another word for birth control is contraception .
The only sure way to prevent pregnancy is to not have sex. But finding a good method of birth control you can use every time can help you avoid an unplanned pregnancy.
What Should I Do If I Miss A Pill
Take the missed pill as soon as you remember. Then take your usual daily dose as planned. You should also use a backup form of birth control until you have your period. Call your healthcare provider if you miss several days of the pill. Your provider can discuss pregnancy test and emergency contraception options. It is helpful to keep the package inserts of the available, most will give specific instructions on what to do if there is a missed pill.
Low Dose Birth Control
Medically reviewed by Sophia Yen, MD, MPH Written by Pandia Health Editorial Team. Updated on May 26, 2021
When people talk about the dose of birth control, they mean the amount of hormones or active ingredients it has. Back in the day, low dose birth control had a higher amount of hormones . That said, if youre asking specifically for low dose birth control, you should know that most pills today are considered low dose.
Being that there are so many birth control options to choose from, its normal to feel confused or even overwhelmed. But have no fear. The following article will explore the pros and cons of low dose birth control.
Perfect Use Vs Typical Use
Many contraceptive methods are affected by human error such as forgetting to take your pill. They may be very effective with perfect use but the effectiveness of certain methods as typically used is likely to be lower.
Perfect use of a contraceptive method is when it is used correctly all the time.
Typical use is what generally happens in real life. It takes into account human error.
As you can see below, for long acting reversible contraception the perfect use is the same as typical use. This is because you dont have to remember to take anything or get the condom on correctly. This is why more and more women are choosing LARCs.
Effectiveness of different contraception methodsContraception effectiveness is measured by how many women will get pregnant within a year of using that method.
For example, the effectiveness of male condoms with perfect use is 98%. This means out of 100 women using condoms correctly all the time, two will become pregnant within one year.
Sometimes the effectiveness is quoted for the first year of use when people are learning how to use a method correctly. These figures below quote the first year use.