Clara Hickey explains some of the most popular methods of contraception so you can gauge which might be best for you.
In the 21st century we are fortunate enough to have a wide choice of different methods of contraception available to us, but which are the best? Each and every person is effected differently by different contraceptives, with there being both advantages and disadvantages to each method. To find out what contraceptive is best for you, it's really a matter of trial and error; however, we have devised a list of the most popular methods of contraception and how exactly they work.
Combined Oral Contraceptive
"The Pill" combines two female hormones of oestrogen and progesterone which stops women ovulating. It is taken once a day for 21 days of the month, followed by a "break week" where women have their period. There are many different brands of the pill with some having more of an effective on women's moods than others, so a doctor advises women on the best one to suit them. The pill often reduces bleeding, period pain and pre-menstrual tension, yet vomiting, diarrhoea and some medications can interfere with the pill working. Women and men are also not protected from STD's while women are on the pill.
The female hormone progesterone is injected into women approximately every 12 weeks. The injection slowly releases the hormone over the 12 weeks which stops women ovulating. This method of contraception is very useful if you forget to take the pill every day but can cause irregular bleeding and cannot be reversed immediately if you experience bad side effects. Like the pill, this injection does not protect against STD's.
The implant is a small rod which is placed under the skin on the upper arm of a woman, where it can be felt but not seen. Progesterone is slowly released which stops ovulation, and also makes it harder for sperm to enter the womb by thickening the mucus at the neck of it. The implant can last for up to three years but may case irregular bleeding, weight gain and acne. Once again, the implany does not protect against STD's.
Perhaps the only method of contraception for men (bar male sterilisation) is condoms. They are rolled onto an erect penis before sex and prevents sperm from entering the vagina. Condoms are the only method of contraception which protect against STD's and are widely sold over the counter.
With a lengthy list of female contraceptives and only one method of male contraception, many wonder why this is so. Studies carried out on a trial method of male contraception showed that a male contraceptive injection was 95% effective in lowering sperm count. Yet the study had to be stopped due to the adverse side effects some men experienced, including acne, mood swings and cramping. To many women reading the study, this soudned all too familiar.