The different contraception options: how to navigate

HORMONAL METHODS

Products in this category contain hormones that control the menstrual cycle to prevent pregnancy. Some products combine two ingredients (estrogen and progestin), while others contain only one (a progestogen).

The contraceptive pill is the best known method in this category. It should be taken at the same time each day to ensure effectiveness, especially for the oral contraceptive containing only a progestogen. A certain rigor is therefore required to use this mode of contraception.

Other hormonal methods include the vaginal ring, which must be inserted into the vagina and changed every month. There is now also a contraceptive patch, which must be applied to the skin and changed every week. In addition, intramuscular injection is an interesting option. It must be done by a health professional every 12 weeks or so. Finally, the hormonal IUD, inserted into the uterus, provides anti-pregnancy protection for about five years. Contrary to popular belief, the IUD can be used in women who have never had children. The copper IUD, which does not contain hormones, also remains available.

BARRIER METHODS

This type of method prevents the spermatozoa from reaching the cervix, which prevents the fertilization of an egg. These products are frequently used with a spermicide, which has the role of destroying spermatozoa. It should be noted that a spermicide should not be used alone because of its limited effectiveness.

The male condom is the most frequently used barrier method. There is also a female condom that needs to be inserted inside the vagina before intercourse. Both methods offer the advantage of protecting against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which is not the case with other methods.

The diaphragm, the cervical cap and the sponge are all devices that must be inserted into the vagina, against the cervix. While the sponge already contains a spermicide, you must add one when using the cape or diaphragm. These devices have the advantage of being used for several sexual relations, unlike condoms.

OTHER METHODS

The so-called natural methods consist of avoiding having sex during the period of fertility of the menstrual cycle. These methods require good discipline to observe the body signs indicative of the fertility period, in addition to requiring a period of monthly abstinence. The withdrawal method, which consists of interrupting the sexual intercourse before ejaculation, is also a so-called natural method. It is important to note that natural methods  should not be considered as a primary contraceptive method for adolescent girls .

In addition, tubal ligation in women or vasectomy in men remain possible contraceptive options. However, these methods are only indicated for people who do not wish to have children in the future given their relative irreversibility.

EFFECTIVENESS OF DIFFERENT METHODS

Only abstinence guarantees 100% effectiveness, since even the perfect use of a contraceptive can lead to pregnancy. A common use, that is to say that includes, among other things, oversights or set delays, results in less efficiency than perfect use. The following are the recognized effectiveness rates for some methods:

Method

Perfect use

(% efficiency)

Current use

(% efficiency)

Oral contraceptive, vaginal ring or contraceptive patch

99.7%

92%

Hormonal IUD

99.9%

99.9%

Intramuscular injection

99.7%

99.7%

Male condom

97%

86%

Female condom

95%

79%

Diaphragm with spermicide

94%

80%

Sponge

94%

74%

Cervical cape

91% (if woman without children)

74% (if female with child)

80% (if woman without children)

60% (if woman with child)

Spermicide

94%

74%

CHOICE OF METHOD

Each method of contraception offers its advantages and disadvantages. However, do not forget that only the condom protects against sexually transmitted infections. It is therefore important to have screening tests before considering another method of contraception. In addition, some methods may be contraindicated in the presence of health problems. Ask your pharmacist for more details.

Contraception is an important health issue for adolescents. This is why educational institutions and various youth workers are working to raise awareness and disseminate information about contraception and safe sex practices. The involvement of parents in this respect is a major asset; if you are a parent, do not hesitate to discuss these questions with your teenager!

You should explore different contraceptive options to find the one that’s right for you. This will allow you to have a healthier sexuality while avoiding unplanned pregnancies. Learn how to use your contraceptive optimally to maximize effectiveness, and remember that the best method of contraception is the one that is used regularly and properly! Your pharmacist can answer your questions about sexuality and methods of contraception, with discretion and confidentiality. Do not hesitate to consult it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *