If you are sexually active but do not yet want to start a family, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the birth controls that are available to you. Birth controls are also known as contraception and their main aim in women is to stop you from becoming pregnant, or for men to stop you impregnating your partner. Most contraceptives are used by women and affect your hormone balance so that your reproductive system goes to sleep while you are taking the contraceptive. There are some methods that are used by the male such as condoms, but there is also a female equivalent to these. If you are considering going on some form of contraception, you should speak to your doctor as they will be able to advise you on what is most suitable for you and your lifestyle.
If you are primarily seeking protection against sexually transmitted diseases such as HPV, Chlamydia, herpes and syphilis, you should choose condoms as these prevent any real contact between you and your partner. Condoms are also used by people who are nervous about using the pill for ethical reasons, fearing that it could cause miscarriage or abort any accidental pregnancies although this is uncommon with most types of the pill. Whichever method you decide to use, birth controls only work effectively if you are consistent with them and use them exactly in the way prescribed. The only fool proof method of preventing pregnancy or the contraction of a sexually transmitted is abstinence – you absolutely do not risk pregnancy infection if you say no, unless of course you are the Virgin Mary!
So what are some of the different methods found in birth controls? Barrier methods are those that stop the sperm-containing semen from entering the woman’s body. The different types of barrier contraception include things like condoms and diaphragms – you MUST use these every time you have sexual intercourse if they are going to be an effective way to stop pregnancy. Condoms are a great choice of contraceptive as they can be combined with other methods as well as spermicide to increase your protection against pregnancy, and they also protect you from receiving or transmitting STDs.
The other methods of birth control are hormonal rather than barrier. They stop the ovaries from releasing the egg, so there is nothing to impregnate when the man ejaculates. Hormonal methods of birth control are combined (oestrogen and progestin) or just progestin alone and are usually taken orally in the form of a pill or tablet. Some other methods of administering hormonal contraceptives include things like the coil, injections and implants. These can be better birth controls for some women if they cannot remember to take the contraceptive pill every day.
You should remember when considering hormonal contraceptives that there are many common side effects associated with imbalancing your hormones. Common side effects include things like headaches, acne, weight gain and depression. Sometimes the pill is prescribed to women who suffer with particularly bad PMS or suffer with their periods.
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