Advantages and disadvantages of contraceptive patch

A contraceptive patch offers a lot of advantages. Apart from being highly effective the patch has the efficiency rate of up to 99% in birth control when used properly – a contraceptive patch gives many benefits. Some of the benefits are similar to those offered by the birth control pill. These are reduction in the appearance of acne, a regular menstrual cycle, decreased PMS symptoms and reduced risk for endometrial and ovarian cancers.

Other advantages, different from those offered by the birth control pill, include comfort in the use of the patch. A contraceptive patch is applied only weekly, therefore a woman does not have to care about contraception on a daily basis. Since this method changes the cervical mucus, it decreases the risk for pelvic inflammatory disease. A contraceptive patch is a reversible form of birth control since a woman regains fertility immediately after discontinuation of use. The occurrence of possible side effects disappears straight after the discontinuation of use.

Side effects of contraceptive patch

As all hormonal contraception, a contraceptive patch has a few side effects associated with hormonal component of this method of contraception. These side effects are similar to those of the birth control pill. Most women can experience spotting and breakthrough bleeding during the first two or three months of use. They can also have tender breasts. Nausea may occur on the first days of use but should disappear afterwards. If nausea continues or occurs with the change of each patch or menstrual cycle, a woman should ask her doctor’s advice. Vomiting is very rear. Mood changes may occur at the very beginning of use. Headaches are also one of the most frequent side effects associated with the use of the patch. However, if they become more frequent and harder than normally a woman should seek her doctor’s consultation.

There are certain conditions women should consider before using the patch. Some women may be allergic to the material of a contraceptive patch; therefore if any skin irritation, itching or changes in skin color appears a woman should consult her doctor since these symptoms may indicate increased sensitivity to a contraceptive patch. Women should also know that there is a risk for weight gain. Although it is very individual and some women may even lose weight.

Although health risks are very rare but still are possible. The use of a contraceptive patch increases the risk for blood clots in the legs and lungs. This risk is even higher for smokers, especially those, who are older than 35 years. Women with the history of blood clots and varicose veins should discuss the use of hormonal contraception with their health care provider. There is also an increased risk for cardiovascular disorders, such as stroke or heart attack. As high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure increase the risk for blood clots women having these conditions are basically not recommended to use hormonal birth control.
Although a contraceptive patch was found to be highly effective in birth control , there are certain factors that may affect its efficiency. Effectiveness of the patch may decrease with the improper use. In addition, women who weigh more than 198 pounds should choose other form of birth control as efficiency of the patch may be reduced. Birth control efficiency may decrease when other certain drugs are taken at the same time. These include antifungals, seizure medications and possibly antibiotics. Always ask your doctor about drug interactions with a contraceptive patch. Vomiting and diarrhea usually does not interfere with contraceptive efficiency of the patch.

Remember that the patch does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases, therefore you should use male condoms each time you have sexual intercourse.
Since a contraceptive patch is a new form of hormonal contraception, long-term effects and risks are not yet known. Although it is a safe and effective mean of birth control, do not hesitate to discuss all the advantages and disadvantages of the method with your doctor before use of a contraceptive patch.

Natural family planning

Those, who for some reason cannot or do not wish to use hormonal or barrier methods of birth control, usually choose natural family planning, fertility awareness in other words. This type of contraception is thought to be the oldest in the world. It involves a good understanding of a woman’s body, a long time of observation and involvement of both partners.

Although natural family planning is a very old type of fertility control, it offers a lot of advantages. Since all of the fertility awareness techniques include a lot of observation of a woman’s body, it is a good possibility for a woman to get to know her body better. Since there are no chemicals, drugs or hormones involved, natural family planning does not have any side-effects. It involves both partners in the process of family planning. Natural family planning is inexpensive and can be used not only to prevent possible pregnancy but also to help a couple to conceive. In addition, this type of birth control does not interfere with any of religious or ethical believes that some may have against other methods of contraception.

There are quite a few couples around the world that practice natural family planning. However, you should be aware that although there are no side-effects there can be a few disadvantages using this type of birth control . First of all, all techniques of natural family planning require a lot of time and efforts to be used properly and constantly. When they are used improperly, the failure rate might be as high as 25%. Natural family planning, as it involves cooperation of both partners, is relevant only to people who are in a long-term, committed relationship. Additionally, be aware that none of the natural family planning techniques offer any protection against sexually transmitted diseases. This is another reason why fertility awareness methods are suited only to devoted relationships.

Natural family planning methods

There are a few different methods of natural family planning. These include the ovulation method, the rhythm/calendar method and the basal body temperature charting. All of these techniques are based on a presumption that a woman can conceive only during the days around ovulation.

The ovulation method is based on the changes of cervical mucus and therefore it is also called the cervical mucus method. A woman, who wants to use this method of birth control , must be very comfortable with her body as she will need to check her cervical mucus on a regular basis. Using the ovulation method a woman indicates ovulation, when an egg is released and she is most fertile, when cervical mucus gets thinner and stickier. A woman is most likely unfertile when there is no or very little production of cervical mucus. This method of natural family planning has a failure rate of 20% per year. This failure rate might become smaller when the ovulation method is used with other techniques of natural family planning, such as the basal body temperature charting.

The basal body temperature charting, also known as the sympto-thermal method, requires a woman’s core body temperature measured every day of her menstrual cycle. Since body temperature rises slightly when ovulation occurs, a high peak in a woman’s basal body temperature will indicate that a woman is then most fertile and should abstain from sex or use another form of birth control. This method of natural family planning has an average failure rate of 15% per year but can be as much as 98% effective for those couples, who use the basal body temperature charting properly and consistently.

The rhythm/calendar method is probably the oldest natural family planning technique known. It is based on the thoughts that ovulation happens 14 days before menstrual bleeding begins, that sperm can survive for three days when enters the inside of a woman’s body and that an egg can be fertilized only within 24 hours of the process of ovulation. Although this method is used by some couples, it is very individual when ovulation may occur in each woman. Note that ovulation usually does not appear at the same day of the cycle. Another problem lies in the believe that sperm can survive only three days inside a woman’s body. It has, however, been proved that sperm can be vital for up to seven days inside a woman.

The failure rate is as much as 13% per year of the rhythm method. However, it may be as much as 20% when the method is used improperly or due to individual changes of each woman. Therefore the rhythm/calendar method is not suitable for women who do not have regular menstrual cycles or who have menstrual cycles that are of a different number of days every month. Such women should choose another form of birth control either natural family planning or not.

For those couples who consider choosing natural family planning techniques, it is best to consult with their health care provider. Additionally, it might be helpful to get some training in fertility awareness methods to make sure that you are using them properly to protect against pregnancy. And finally, bear in mind that with enough time, patience and proper use and good cooperation of both partners, natural family planning techniques may offer similar efficiency in birth control as all other methods of contraception .

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How to put a condom?

Firstly, check the expiration date. Never use an expired, washed in the washing-machine or somehow damaged condom.
Use absolutely new condom every time you have vagina, anal or oral sex.


  1. Carefully take the condom out of its package. Try to not tear it with your nail, teeth or rings – latex is very thin. If the condom is not lubricated, put some drops of water-based lubricant inside of it. Never use massage oil!
  2. If your penis is not circumcised, pull back the foreskin before putting the condom.
  3. Make sure the condom is right side out.
  4. Squeeze the closed end of the condom (there have to be no air inside a condom) and place it on erect penis.
  5. Carefully roll the condom down the full length of penis with your free hand. Never unroll the condom before putting it on the penis – it will stretch the latex and make condom difficult to use. Be sure to leave a half-inch space at the tip to collect the sperm.
  6. Smooth out any air bubbles – the condom has to fit like a second skin.  
  7. If the condom is not lubricated, put some drops of water-based lubricant outside the condom.
  8. After ejaculation, warily pull the condom out of penis while it’s erected.
  9. Hold the condom at the base of penis to avoid sperm spillage.
  10. Roll the condom till the tip of penis and remove.


Dispose condom hygienically. Never flush the condom down to toilet!

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Male condoms

Male condoms, as one of the oldest forms of male contraception still in use today, have been used for thousands years. They used to be produced from various materials, including animal intestines, linen and cotton. Male condoms made out of rubber were founded in the 19th century. In modern times, condoms made out of latex rubber are the most popular of all. Apart from male condoms, female condoms were produced and introduced into the market. Female condoms , as well as male ones, protect not only against pregnancy but also against sexually transmitted diseases.

How to use male condom?

A male condom, a thin cover put on erect penis, is a barrier birth control method. A man should put a condom before sex happens and remove it straight after ejaculation takes place. A condom is used only once during each sexual intercourse, oral, vaginal or anal. The sperm gets trapped in the tip of the condom and it cannot reach the vagina, therefore pregnancy is generally impossible. It is important for you to check for any damage and expiration time of a condom before putting it on the penis. Damaged, dry and expired condoms should be thrown away. Additionally, do not forget to check for any breakage or leaking before taking a condom off. If there is any damage to a condom after ejaculation you may no longer be protected against pregnancy and should consult your medical advisor about emergency contraception methods .

The efficacy

Male condoms have the efficacy from 85% to 95% in birth control. This means that each year 10 to 15 women out of 100 will get pregnant using male condoms. The efficiency of male condoms in protection against pregnancy increases with the use of other birth control methods. It is important that condoms are worn properly, put on the penis before it comes any near to the vagina and that they are not damaged before use or after ejaculation. Male condoms, except for natural skin ones, is the main mean in protection against STDs. Although total protection against unwanted pregnancy and STDs can be reached only with abstinence, male condoms are highly effective in protecting against most of STDs, including HIV. However, some of STDs, such as human papiloma virus the main cause of cervical cancer, are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and hence condoms have little effect on protection against these STDs.

Types of male condoms

There are three main types of male condoms – latex, polyurethane and animal tissue. Latex rubber condoms are the most widely used type of condoms worldwide. They are effective in protecting against pregnancy and STDs. Latex condoms are known to be the most resistant to damage and breakage, although some chemicals like oil-based lubricants and vaginal yeast infection medications may weaken this type of condoms. Being safe and effective, latex condoms also cause a few side effects, mostly allergic irritation to those, who are allergic to latex.

People, who have latex allergy, should choose polyurethane (plastic) condoms that are also efficient in protecting against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. They cause no allergic reactions to users but are more expensive than latex condoms. Another type of condoms most suitable to users, who are allergic to latex rubber, is natural skin condoms. These are made out of lamb membrane and are highly efficient in pregnancy protection. However, bear in mind that natural skin condoms offer no protection against sexually transmitted diseases. And they are also the most expensive of all.

Side effects of male condoms

Compared to other types of birth control , male condoms have very few side effects. Allergic reactions may occur to people who have allergy for latex. Polyurethane or natural skin condoms are highly recommended to these users in order to avoid allergic irritation. Although most people do not experience any side effects or inconveniences associated with condom use, some male users complain that they find it hard maintaining their erection while putting a condom on or during sexual intercourse. Others may feel that their sensations are reduced during sex when a condom is on. In some cases, couples agree that sex cannot be spontaneous when a condom is used. However, sexually active people should understand the importance of the use of condoms in protection against most STDs.

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Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception is the type of birth control used to prevent possible pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse. The main type of emergency contraception is emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs). They were first introduced into the market in 1960s to prevent pregnancy from occurring in women who experienced a sexual assault. Nowadays, emergency contraceptive pills are used anytime unprotected sex occurs, for instance, when a condom breaks, after a sexual assault or anytime a woman has unprotected vaginal sex. It is, however, notable that ECPs should not be used for regular birth control in sexually active women.

Emergency contraceptive pills used to be called “the Morning After Pill”. This term is a bit misleading since ECPs can be taken anytime within 120 hours after unprotected sexual intercourse – a woman does not have to wait until the next morning.

Since ECPs are very similar to the birth control pill , there are two types of ECPs available. One type of ECPs consists of only progestin another type contains both estrogen and progesterone. The amount of these hormones in ECPs is much larger than the one in the birth control pill.


How does emergency contraception work?

There are several mechanisms due to which emergency contraceptive pills prevent possible pregnancy. Firstly, they inhibit ovulation if an egg has not yet been released by the ovaries. Secondly, ECPs prevent pregnancy through changing the movement of an egg if it has already been released. Thirdly, they change the uterine lining, so that it is impossible for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus.

Note, that emergency contraceptive pills cannot cause an end to the pregnancy if an egg has been fertilized and has already implanted in the uterus. Therefore ECPs are not an abortion causing medication. They also do not protect from sexually transmitted diseases, hence, a person at risk should be checked for STDs. Another problem that emergency contraceptives cannot solve is ectopic pregnancy which occurs when a fertilized egg implants anywhere outside the uterus. This condition needs special medical attention.

All emergency contraceptive pills require a doctor’s prescription. However, the situation might be different depending on the country, state and province. In some states you could get ECPs without prescription at a pharmacy, sexual health care center or from your doctor.

How to use emergency contraception?

Most ECPs should be taken twice. The first dose should be taken within 72 hours of unprotected vaginal sexual intercourse another after 12 hours after the first dose. Bear in mind that emergency contraceptives do not provide any protection against pregnancy for the rest of the menstrual cycle. Therefore additional birth control methods should be used.
Emergency contraceptive pills are rather effective in preventing pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse. Progestin-only ECPs have the efficiency of 89% in pregnancy prevention whereas combined progesterone and estrogen ECPs were found to be as much as 75% efficient when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.

Side effects of emergency contraception

Women who take emergency contraceptive pills may experience nausea and vomiting. Progestin-only ECPs are known to cause reduced side effects of this kind. Other most frequent side effects associated with ECPs are changes in menstrual cycle. Periods may become rarer or more frequent. They also may become heavier or lighter. ECPs may also cause tender breasts, dizziness and headaches.

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Injectable contraceptives are the type of a long-term hormonal birth control commonly known as “the shot” or “the jab”. A birth control pill made a real revolution in sexual life and contraception. Another revolution was made with the invention of injectable contraceptives. This is a more convenient form of hormonal contraception since it provides prevention from pregnancy for up to twelve weeks when injected and a woman does not have to care about everyday pill.

Injectable contraceptives are available in progestin-only form and in combination of both a progestin and an estrogen hormone. A progestin-only form available in market are Depo-Provera known as DMPA (depot medroxyprogesterone acetate) and NET-EN (norethindrone enanthate) when combined hormonal injectable contraceptives are Cyclofem (also called Lunelle) and Mesigyna. Either of these injectables is prescribed by a doctor only and is administered only four times a year. The first shot should be given during the first five days of a normal menstrual cycle. It should be administered differently after labor and during the period of breastfeeding. Usually the shot is given during the first five days after labor if a woman is not breastfeeding and only after six weeks if a woman is breastfeeding. The drug is given as a deep intramuscular injection in the buttocks or the upper arm.

Injectable contraceptives are a very effective and comfortable form of birth contro l for women. There is only 0.1% to 0.6% failure rate during first year of use for progestin-only injectables and 0.2% to 0.4% failure rate during first year of use for combined injectable contraceptives. This type of contraception is as efficient in birth control as tubal ligation and much more efficient than many other birth control methods , such as a diaphragm , an intrauterine device or male condoms . However, injectables provide no protection against sexually transmitted diseases and hence male condoms should be used during each sexual intercourse.

Injectable contraceptives prevent from unplanned pregnancy by suppressing ovulation (release of an egg or ovum). They can also thicken cervical mucus so that it is hard for sperm to enter the uterus. In addition, injectables make the uterine lining thinner and hence there is no possibility for a fertilized egg to implant.

This type of birth control is available also to women who are breastfeeding since it does not have any effect on a baby. However, as noted above injectables should be administered only after six weeks after labor. Note that injectable contraceptives are a reversible form of contraception that offers prevention from unplanned pregnancy for up to three months when injected. It may, however, take nine to ten months to get pregnant after discontinuation of use. One should be aware, that a woman should not use injectables for more than two years due to the negative effect on the bone mass.


The history of spermicides reaches centuries before Christ. Therefore they are thought to be one of the oldest methods of contraception. Nowadays, spermicides have been used for about 40 years since they have been introduced into market. They are a rather popular form of birth control, most frequently used in combination with other birth control methods . Spermicides are quite cheap, easy to purchase and comfortable to use.

What are spermicides?

They are chemical compounds, mostly containing nonoxynol-9, octoxynol-9, menfegol or benzalkonium chloride. They protect against pregnancy when inserted into vagina in a right way and time. The effectiveness of spermicides lies upon their ability to kill sperm so that it is not able to reach and fertilize an egg or ovum.

The companies that produce spermicides have introduced various types and forms of these chemical compounds. Generally, all the types differ only in composition and form of application whereas their action in birth control is all the same — in destroying or immobilizing sperm. There are spermicidal creams and jellies mainly used to apply on a diaphragm or cervical cap. They can also be used alone when applied into the vagina with the help of a special applicator. Although they are rather messy but also adds some lubrication needed for breastfeeding mothers or when a condom is used for birth control. Spermicidal foam is very similar to creams or jellies and is also applied with a special plunger-type applicator.

How to use spermicides?

Newer and more comfortable forms of spermicides are melting suppositories or foaming tablets. These should be inserted by hand or with an applicator into the vagina each time a few hours before sexual intercourse. They then melt or dissolve in the vagina and provide protection against pregnancy. The newest forms of spermicides are contraceptive films, which are thin spermicidal squares. These are very comfortable to use and should be applied over the cervix before vaginal intercourse. All these methods are easier to use but, unlike creams or jellies, do not provide any lubrication. Also there are male condoms that come in packets with spermicide already applied on a condom.

The efficiency of spermicides varies from 5% up to 60% failure in birth control. The reason for that is a high dependence upon the proper use of this method of contraception and whether an additional method of birth control is used. Any form of a spermicide should be used before the penis comes any near the vagina. Also spermicidal compounds should be applied once again if people are having sex multiple times in the course of one session. Proper use of spermicides increases the effectiveness of the method. Also when used with additional means of contraception, such as male condoms, diaphragms or cervical caps , spermicides have a higher efficiency in protecting against unexpected pregnancy.

Advantages and complications of IUD

An intrauterine (IUD) has become one of the most popular method of birth control due to its advantages and a few side-effects and complications. It has its effiency, reliability and comfort. Since it can be used for many years, an IUD is much cheaper method of contraception compared to other available ones.

Advantages of IUD

First of all it is a device of high efficiency in protecting from pregnancy. It has the effectiveness of 99% if inserted properly. An IUD becomes effective from the moment of its insertion into the uterus. In addition it provides continuous protection from pregnancy for five or twelve years, depending on the type of a device. It is especially comfortable to women, who do not have to care about birth control every time they have sexual intercourse.
Once inserted into the uterus, an IUD cannot be felt by a woman or her partner, therefore gives no inconveniences during sexual intercourse. Women, who do not wish to use a hormonal method of contraception, can choose a copper containing intrauterine device that is as effective as the one releasing hormones. Also it is very convenient to breast-feeding women since the device does not interfere with this period and is totally safe both for a woman and her baby.

A hormone releasing type of intrauterine device also make women’s period bleeding lighter and shorter. It is also said to reduce muscle cramps during menstrual period. In addition, a copper containing intrauterine device can be used as a method of emergency contraception. It is claimed to have the efficiency of 99% if used within five days of vaginal intercourse.

Complications of intrauterine device

As with all methods of contraception there are a few side effects and complications associated with the use of an intrauterine device. A copper containing intrauterine device can cause a harder and more intense bleeding during menstrual period. Although rarely, but to some women this could cause anemia. Additionally, this type of an intrauterine device my cause spotting and more painful muscle cramps during period. A hormone releasing intrauterine device may have the same side effects as a birth control pill, since its side effects are associated with the release of hormones. Although insertion of an IUD is most frequently painless, some women claim it to be painful.

Complications associated with the use of an intrauterine device are said to be rare but possible, therefore women should be aware of all possible complications before choosing this method of birth control. There is a risk of 0.003% of the puncture of the uterus during insertion of an IUD. Usually this complication is noticed by a gynecologist right away. Women should be aware that there is a possibility that an IUD could fell out of the uterus. Usually 7 out of a hundred women using this form of contraception experience the expulsion of an intrauterine device within the first year or the first month after insertion of an IUD . If a woman does not notice it she can become pregnant since she is fertile straight away after the expulsion.

Another complication that is rather rare but still can occur is an infection since normal bacteria of the vagina can get into the uterus during insertion of an IUD and cause a uterine infection. Most infections can be cured with antibiotics but some may need surgical therapy leaving a woman sterile afterwards. There is also a higher risk for inflammatory pelvic disease.

And finally another condition that needs additional attention is an IUD and pregnancy. If a woman becomes pregnant with a uterine device present in her uterus there is a higher risk for ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage, inflammatory pelvic disease and preterm labor. If a woman becomes pregnant with an IUD present, this device should be taken out by a gynecologist.

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Intrauterine Device (IUD)

An intrauterine device, mostly known as an IUD, is a flexible device that protects from unexpected pregnancy when inserted into a woman’s uterus through the vagina. An IUD is one of the most popular methods of birth control among fertile women worldwide. Some statistics claim that approximately 15% of all fertile women in the world choose an intrauterine device to protect from pregnancy. This is an effective, comfortable and long-term method of contraception for fertile women.

An intrauterine device is an old method for birth control. It has proved its efficiency and relevancy throughout many years. These new intrauterine devices have a high safety in usage. They give fewer complications and side effects . High efficiency, comfort and safety have made an intrauterine device one of the most common methods for birth control. Since it can be used for many years, an intrauterine device is a much cheaper method of contraception compared to other available ones.

IUD types

There are two major types of an IUD. An intrauterine device can be a non-hormonal or hormonal type of contraception. The first one is a t-shaped device made out of flexible plastic and holds copper in it. The second type contains hormones, such as levonorgestrel or progesterone, which are constantly released by a device. A copper containing IUD is an older and more popular form than the one containing progestins. Another part of both types of an intrauterine device is two threads hanging down into the vagina. These threads are easy for a woman to feel and check whether an IUD is in the right place.

How to use Intrauterine device?

Women should be aware that an intrauterine device can be inserted only by a gynecologist who also should decide whether this particular method of contraception is relevant in each individual case. Although an IUD is possible for use for any woman who is older than 20 years, there are still some gynecological or obstetrical restrictions that women should be aware of. Women who have multiple sexual partners or an increased risk for sexually transmitted diseases are not suitable for the use of an intrauterine device. Also women who have HIV or AIDS are not to use an IUD. Also women who are pregnant or trying to conceive are not suited for an IUD. Other gynecological conditions during which women should choose another method for birth control are abnormal positions of the uterus. The uterus could be too far back or forward in the pelvis or it could be deformed making it impossible for insertion of an intrauterine device. If a woman had certain uterine or vaginal infection she could also be not suitable for the use of an IUD. Since an intrauterine device causes a more immense bleeding during menstrual bleeding it is not recommended to women who have anemia.

Women who had never been pregnant or given birth to a baby have usually a smaller uterus. This makes it difficult to insert an intrauterine device; therefore such women might have to choose another method of birth control. In addition, a smaller uterus might cause a higher risk for the expulsion of an IUD. Therefore gynecologists tend not to recommend intrauterine device for birth control to women who had never been pregnant. However, since it is very individual a woman should ask for medical advice in such case.

IUD – the efficient birth control method

An intrauterine device is efficient in protecting against pregnancy right from the beginning of its insertion into the uterus. Depending on the type of an IUD it can be used for constant contraception for up to twelve years. A copper containing IUD can provide with continuous birth control for twelve years, whilst a hormone releasing device is usually effective for up to five years. Most women are able to use this method of contraception during all of their reproductive years, if there are no gynecological or obstetrical restrictions.

The effectiveness of an intrauterine device is provided with a combination of different actions. Scientists say that an IUD inhibits sperm migration in the female genital tract and alters the movement of an egg. Due to these two mechanisms conception is made impossible, since an egg and sperm cannot meet each other in the upper female genital tract. Both types of IUD use these mechanisms. In addition, a hormone releasing IUD alters cervical mucus thickening it and making it a natural barrier for sperm. Both copper containing and hormone releasing intrauterine devices change the endometrial lining of the uterus in such a way that it is difficult for a fertilized egg to implant.

It is important to know that an intrauterine device does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases, although it is very efficient in birth control. Most doctors do not recommend using an IUD as a method for birth control for women, who have multiple sexual partners. Such women should choose another type of contraception.

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Cervical cap

A cervical cap is a barrier method of birth control . The device is made of latex rubber or silicone and comes in different sizes. A cervical cap should be chosen by a gynecologist for each woman individually. This method of birth control works the same way like a diaphragm only that it is in a different shape and size – a cervical cap is smaller and more rigid than a diaphragm.

Directions for use

A cervical cap should be inserted into the vagina a few hours before having sex. Most women like it because they do not have to care about other methods of birth control during lovemaking. A cervical cap, a thimble-shaped instrument, is placed into the vagina manually and fits the cervix (the opening of a womb) via suction. Spermicides (cream or jelly) should be placed on a cap before placing it on the cervix. The cap blocks sperm from getting into the uterus while a spermicidal substance disables sperm from fertilizing an egg because sperm is destroyed. Bear in mind, that you may need to add more spermicidal cream if the cap is placed more than six hours before lovemaking. You may also need to apply more of this substance if you have sex more than one time during the session. You should also make sure that a cervical cap is in place during the time of sexual intercourse.

You should know that it is very important for a cervical cap to fit the cervix completely. Therefore you should get an appointment with your gynecologist during which your doctor will choose the size of the best fit for you and show you how to use a cervical cap properly. Different manufacturers offer several sizes for women who had never been pregnant, for those who had had a miscarriage or cesarean section, and those who had given vaginal birth to a baby.
Manufacturers recommend using a cervical cap for no longer than a year. After one year of usage, a new one should be bought and used. A cervical cap is a reusable form of contraception. You should be aware though that it is significant to check the cap for tears and holes, because those decrease the efficiency of this birth control method. It is also important to clean the device properly after every use to prevent from the growth of microorganisms on it.

A cervical cap is very easy to use for a woman herself. It can be placed onto the cervix not more than twenty-four hours before sexual intercourse. The cap should be filled with one-third of spermicidal substance. Then you should insert it into the vagina in such a way that it sucks to the cervix. The cap should not be taken out after less than eight hours. It can be left in the vagina not more than 48 hours after it has been placed onto the cervix. You may have more than one sexual intercourse during that period although you should make sure that the cap is steadily in place and add more spermicidal substance before each sexual act. After removal of a cervical cap, wash it properly with antibacterial hand soap and warm tap water, and then leave it for air dry.

Indications for use

There are certain indications that women should fulfill so that they can use a cervical cap. Firstly, women should use another method of birth control during menstrual period, since the cap cannot be used then. Be also aware that only women who have normal Pap smear findings can choose this form of contraception. It is highly recommended to avoid using the cap for women who had had a toxic shock syndrome before or had recently had urinary tract infection. Women, who are allergic to latex or silicone, are strictly not to use a cervical cap. Also women who had recently had given birth or had an abortion should choose another type of contraception . In addition, women who lack motivation in using a cervical cap or are uncomfortable with touching their genitals may have difficulties with this form of birth control.

The right fit

There are additionally some aspects for the right fit. The right fit is chosen by a gynecologist. What you should bear in mind is that your cervix might change and hence your cervical cap should be refitted at least once a year or due to some certain conditions even more often. Women, who had given birth, had an abortion or miscarriage should have their cervical caps refitted. In addition, those who had gained or lost at least five kilos should also have their barrier device refitted.

Efficiency of a cervical cap in birth control

The most important aspect of usage of a cervical cap is the efficacy of the device. Be aware, that the efficiency of a cervical cap depends very much on the proper use of the cap and motivation of a woman. Therefore a gynecologist should teach a woman to apply a cervical cap properly. The cap should also fit the cervix completely. The efficiency varies from 82.6% to 93.6% depending on the use of a cervical cap and manufacturer.
Bear in mind that a cervical cap, as well as a diaphragm, does not protect from sexually transmitted diseases. Some data show that some sexually transmitted diseases can be protected with the use of a cervical cap, except for HIV. However, you are highly recommended to use condoms not only for additional birth control but also for protection from sexually transmitted diseases.