5 Contraception methods everyone must know

A common problem faced by Modern day India is one of over population. We are the second largest nation in the world and unlike China, we do not have any strict birth control policies. This is why the topic Contraception is very important.

Visit Sehat.com or any other health question portal and you are bound to find countless questions on Accidental pregnancy or unprotected intercourse. Sehat.com aims to educate the masses on simple contraceptive methods and which will be the most effective for you based on your lifestyle and age.

Contraception can be defined very loosely as any method or device which is used to prevent conception or pregnancy. There are many methods of contraception but we will talk about the 5 most important ones. Also, to understand the efficacy and the failure rates of hormones, you need to know about HWY (Hundred Women Years).

1 HWY is when a method of contraception is used by 1 fertile women for 100 years or by 100 fertile women for 1 year. When a contraception has 1 HWY failure rate, it means that 1 women in the 100 HWY will get pregnant. Thus, you know that contraceptives cannot be 100 percent protective.

There are 5 main methods of contraception. They can be classified into the following groups

1. Permanent Contraception:

Permanent contraception refers to any method of contraception is very difficult to reverse or impossible to reverse. Examples of these methods are:

  • Tubectomy - The fallopian tubes are cut and tied in this form of contraception. This prevents the sperm from reaching the egg.
  • Vacectomy - In this, the passage duct for the male sperm is cut in the scrotum. By this method, the sperm are not ejaculated. It usually takes about 7 cycles or ejaculation before the method of contraception is effective
  • Hysterectomy - This is the removal of the whole uterus (womb) and only done when the women has severe bleeding and has completed her family.

2. Hormonal Pills:

  • Combined pills

  • Combined pills are one of the most commonly used methods of contraception in young couples who have regular intercourse. These are couples living together or recently married and want to wait before they have children. The combined contains an estrogen and a progesterone in low quantity. There are further types in the combined pill such as biphasic or triphasic pills.

    Biphasic pills have 2 types of pills which contain different amounts of active hormones. Triphasic pills have 3 types of pills. The efficacy of the Combined pill is more than 99%. if they are taken at the correct time every day and pills are not missed.

  • Progesterone only Pill

  • In some women, the combined pill or more correctly Estrogen can cause a lot of problems. These are problems like headaches and breast pain. These females will prefer to use a progesterone only pill. These side effects are avoided or minimized by using POPs. The efficacy of POPs are also ;more than 99% if taken correctly and by not missing a dose.

3. Morning after Pill/Emergency Pills:

The emergency pill is a pill taken after unprotected intercourse. It contains a high amount of Levonorgestrel and the pill will prevent pregnancy when taken up to 72 hours after the unprotected intercourse. It is best to take the medication as soon after the unprotected sex happens. This makes it very effective. The efficacy is more than 90% if it is taken properly.

Do not use this method of contraception if you have intercourse regularly.

4. Other Methods- Condoms

Condoms are probably the most commonly used contraception method to prevent pregnancy. They are used as a barrier method and they prevent the sperm from entering into the female reproductive tract. Also, a condom is the only way to prevent STD and should be used effectively whenever possible. A condom is more than 90% effective when used correctly and slightly more effective when used with spermicide.

5. IUDs

IUDs stand for Intra uterine device, which are inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are several types of IUDs and some of these IUDs have hormones as well. Generally, IUDs have to be replaced in 3 to 10 years to make sure that they are effective. IUDs are usually more than 99% effective. Ideally, a person getting an IUD should not have Pelvic inflammatory disease or are planning to have children in the near future. This is because it takes up to 6 months for the effect of the IUD to wear off.

What couple should use which contraception?

Young, just married couple - Combined pills.

Couple in 30s with 2 kids (Completed family) – IUD.

Lady in late 40s does not want to take medication or IUD - Tubectomy or Hysterectomy (if indicated).