Contraceptives : What You Need to Know About Them

The question of using conctraceptives during sexual intercourse and their safety have been discussed innumerable times ever since the advent of these options for birth control.

Along with the fear of becoming pregnant and contracting terminal illnesses like AIDS, increasing awareness about STDs and their after effects have also propelled people to use contraceptives to stay safe.

However, with so many options to choose from, the task of choosing the correct contraceptive that works in par with your body conditions can be tough. Here are a few facts about contraceptives and the different methods and mediums you can adopt to stay safe from unwanted pregnancies, infections and illnesses.

Condoms: In countries like India where people are still behind when it comes to knowledge about STDs, condoms play the pivotal role of protecting both members from getting into squirmish situations later.

There are male condoms and female condoms. While the male condom is a thin sheath or cover made of tough plastic (polyurethane), rubber (latex) or animal membrane; and worn over the male organ to prevent the sperms from entering the female crevix during intercourse, a female condom is a new entrant in the field of contraceptives and is tougher than male condoms.

A point to note here is that a female condom should never be used with a male condom. So if your partner is already wearing a condom, you should refrain from wearing one yourself.

While male condoms come in different colors and flavors, female condoms essentially fall into either one of the two groups, Velvet and Confidom. In both cases, the condoms must be kept in a cool place and away from the sun light. Make sure to check expiry dates when you purchase condoms.

Oral Contraceptive Pills: OCPs are the best bet when you want to enjoy a healthy sex life without worrying about getting pregnant later. These pills essentially contain two female hormones called progesterone and estrogen which inhibit the regular release of the egg from the ovaries.

These so called ‘Pills’ are almost always 100% accurate. However, you need to consult a doctor before you opt for oral contraceptive pills. Guided medication can help you enjoy your sex life without worrying about pregnancy and unnecessary after effects. A downside to using OCPs is that they don’t protect you from contracting STDs.

Emergency Contraceptive Pills: ECPs cannot be used like normal OCPs and can be used only in cases of unforseen emergencies. If you had unprotected sex with a partner and are worried about getting pregnant, pop an ECP within 72 hours after the intercourse and have a second pill 12 hours after the initial dose.

Intra Uterine Devices: IUDs can significantly replace contraceptive pills and can do wonders in protecting you from unwanted pregnancies while you enjoy a care free sex life with your partner.

Technically speaking, an intra uterine device is a piece of copper coil that is fitted inside the woman’s womb. Once fitted, the coil acts as a barrier and effectively stops sperms from meeting the egg. The coil emits certain chemicals which thicken the uterine lining to the extent that eggs cannot be implanted on the walls of the uterus.

A sureshot method of pregnancy control and cost effective, IUDs can cost anywhere between Rs. 400 and Rs. 1000. The only downside to this method of birth control is that there may be some intital side effects and disomfort experienced by the body.

IUDs need to be carefully fitted and maintained. While a wrongly inserted IUD can cause the uterus to rupture or inflame, neglect of an already fitted IUD can cause infections.

Tubectomy and Vasectomy: By far the safest options of birth control, tubectomy and vasectomy are medical procedures that are for the most part preferred by individuals in their 40’s and 50’s. Of course, a large number of individuals still seek the procedure after they have reached the desired family size.

In tubectomy, the fallopian tubes in the uterus are blocked completely so that the eggs cannot travel from the ovary to the uterus. Vasectomy involves blocking the vas deferens present in each testicle. This successfully prevent the sperm from mixing with the semen and you can enjoy a hassle free intercourse without worrying about the former.

These methods are safe and healthy. However, they are mostly irreversible and you would probably want to check out on other options before deciding to go ahead with these procedures. While tubectomy can cause accidents, vasectomy is considered safer and thus better.

Choosing the right contraceptive can be a tricky decision to make and you can follow these tips to help you decide.

Condoms can be used if the frequnecy of sex sessions is low, for example, once a week. However, if you and your partner take part in intercourse frequently, you can opt for OCPs or IUDs.

Hvaing sex with multiple partners puts you at a greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and if you opt to go ahead anyway, you can opt for condoms and IUDs.

As and when you decide to start using contraceptives, have a talk with a gynaecologist and inform him/her about the family’s medical history. He/she would then prescribe a contraceptive that would help prevent pregnancy while avoiding unnecessary side effects.