Types Of Birth Control

Condoms or the Diaphram?  The Pill or an IUD?  Do spermicides really work?  Which type of birth control also protects against STDs?

Confusing isn't it?  There are so many types of birth control methods today, how can you decide which one to use?  Don't get overwhelmed.  Lots of choice is a good thing because it means that there are many varieties of birth control that may be right for your body and for your lifestyle.  All you need to make the right decision is to educate yourself about the many different birth control options. Then you can make an informed decision about which method is right for you.  Welcome to our section on Types of Birth Control where you can get the answers to all of your questions about the many varieties of birth control.

The Many Varieties of Birth Control

Birth control has been around, in some form, for thousands of years.  In this section you'll find detailed information about all of the common forms of birth control used today so that you can decide which birth control is best for your body. 

Barrier Methods for Women: Barrier methods are some of the oldest methods of birth control.  Women in ancient Egypt used vaginal suppositories to prevent pregnancy.  However, unlike the sponges of today and modern spermicides, Egyptian women concocted their vaginal suppositories out of crocodile dung and honey.  Modern devices include the traditional diaphragm as well as its smaller counterparts, the FemCap cervical cap and Lea's Shield.  For protection against many sexually transmitted diseases the female condom is now a reality.

Hormonal Contraceptives: Hormonal methods include all contraceptives that use synthetic female hormones as birth control.  The oldest of these is The Pill, which includes combined oral contraceptive pills and the newer estrogen-free mini-pill.  Read to find out all of the FAQs and the Pill and about the controversy surrounding this popular form of birth control. These same hormones used to create the pill are also used in the OrthoEvra patch and the Nuva vaginal ring. Read about the controversy surrounding the use of the patch as a safe and reliable form of contraceptive. Lunelle is one type of birth control shot available along with Depo-provera, an estrogen-free three-month birth control injection. 

Long Term Birth Control: For women who are interested in worry-free birth control that lasts a year or more, the IUD is often recommended by doctors.  Norplant implants last up to five years but are no longer available in the U.S., although women elsewhere may be able to obtain them.  Similar to Norplant, Implanon has recently been approved for use in the U.S.  Women who want no more children may opt for a tubal ligation, but keep in mind this is permanent and not easily reversed.

Methods for Men: When it comes to reversible methods for men, condoms are the only option.  Condoms are popular because they are easy to sue and inexpensive.  Made of latex, plastic, or natural animal tissues, condoms can prevent both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.  Learn more about condoms in our article on how to use condoms.  For men who are sure they want no more children, vasectomy is a surgical option.  While this birth control should be seen as permanent, it is possible to get a vasectomy reversal.    

Natural methods: These methods are also termed "periodic abstinence" because a woman abstains from sex on days that she is fertile.  Natural methods require no drugs or internal devices.  These include methods that use charts such as the symptothermal method and the ovulation mucus method, as well as calendar-based methods, such as the antiquated rhythm method and its successor, the new standard days method (also known as CycleBeads).

Talk About It: Chat with other women on our Birth Control forum about the many types of birth control available and decide which one is right for you.  

Learn more about the types of birth control available by visiting planned parenthood today.

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