The contraceptive methods they are techniques, technologies and medications capable of avoiding fertilization and the initiation of a pregnancy. They are also known as contraceptives or contraceptions. For instance: condom, contraceptive patch, vasectomy.
Contraceptive methods have been with man since early times, but only in the last century have they been produced safely and effectively. The massification and cultural acceptance Many of these practices was an important step in family planning and open discussion of sexual rights.
According to their nature, contraceptives can be classified into the following types:
- Natural. Sexual practices or considerations that prevent or hinder pregnancy, without requiring elements added to the body.
- Barrier. They physically prevent contact between the sexual organs or the fluids that lead to fertilization.
- Hormonal. Pharmacological treatments that affect the female reproductive cycle, producing momentary sterility.
- Intrauterine. Housed inside the vagina, they prevent hormonal fertilization for long periods.
- Surgical. Medical procedures, reversible or not, that produce infertility in men or women.
Examples of contraceptive methods
- Coitus interruptus. Literally: interrupted intercourse, it is a natural and long-standing procedure that involves removing the penis from the vagina prior to ejaculation. It is not totally reliable, since the previous lubrication of the penis occurs through substances capable of fertilizing.
- Sexual abstinence. The total or partial deprivation of sexual contact voluntarily, is usually practiced for religious, moral, emotional or contraceptive reasons. It is considered 100% effective as there is no vaginal penetration.
- Rhythm method. Also known as the calendar method or the Ogino-Knaus method, it is natural but not entirely reliable, since it consists of limiting intercourse to the infertile days before or after ovulation. It has a safety percentage of 80%, but it is difficult to use in women with irregular menstrual cycles.
- Basal temperature method. It consists of the fasting measurement of body temperature (mouth, anus and vagina) to discern the fertile days of the woman, avoiding intercourse until the decrease in it announces the end of ovulation. It is credited with a failure rate even lower than that of the condom, but requires strict control of the menstrual cycle.
- Lactational amenorrhea. During the first 6 months after delivery, there is a period of infertility and absence of menstruation (amenorrhea) that can be used as a natural contraceptive. This procedure is effective as long as breastfeeding is continuous and frequent.
- Preservative. The prophylactic or condom is a barrier contraceptive consisting of a disposable latex sleeve, which covers the erect penis before penetration and isolates the fluids. It is also effective against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and has a margin of failure of only 15%, due to possible breakage of the material.
- Female condom. Similar to the male, the female condom is placed inside the vagina and physically separates the contact between the genitals and the fluids. It is just as reliable and effective against STDs as its male version.
- Diaphragm. It is a thin, flexible disc-shaped device placed on the cervix to prevent sperm from accessing the egg. Many also contain spermicidal substances for added protection. It requires medical instructions for its use, but once placed it has a margin of failure of only 6%.
- Cervical caps. Similar to the diaphragm: thin silicone cups located inside the vagina, to prevent the access of sperm to the uterus.
- Contraceptive sponge. This flexible, synthetic sponge, impregnated with spermicidal substances, is introduced to the cervix, where it will act as a barrier during intercourse. It will need to stay there until at least 8 hours after ejaculation, for it to take full effect.
- Intrauterine device (IUD). Devices specially placed on the cervix by a gynecologist and that prevent fertilization, usually through hormonal release. The IUD remains inside the body and should only be removed by a specialist.
- Subdermal contraceptive. Known as pellet, consists of a tiny metal rod that is inserted under the skin of the woman’s arm, where it will release its contraceptive hormonal load for 3 to 5 years. After that period, he must be replaced by a specialist; it has a 99% safety margin while it is in effect.
- Contraceptive Patch. It consists of a transdermal patch made of plastic material and discreet color (to camouflage itself on the woman’s skin). There it continuously releases its hormonal load into the bloodstream, which lasts for one week.
- Vaginal ring. This flexible plastic ring, just 5cm. in diameter, it is inserted inside the vagina and there it releases low and constant doses of contraceptive hormones, absorbed by the vaginal mucosa. Like the pill, it should be used in response to the menstrual cycle and changed when bleeding begins.
- Oral contraceptive pill. Known as “the pill”, its appearance revolutionized the sexual world in the middle of the 20th century. It is a hormonally-loaded contraceptive pill that must be taken throughout the month, with a break for artificial bleeding for a few days. It is a highly safe method, as long as its intake is constant.
- Emergency pills. The “morning-after pill” is not really a contraceptive, but a drug intended to interrupt fertilization for the first few hours after intercourse (usually the first day). Its effectiveness depends on the latter. It has considerable side effects on the menstrual cycle.
- Spermicides. Chemicals arranged in vaginal eggs, which kill sperm or decrease their mobility, making them less effective. They are not very effective on their own, but they often accompany condoms and diaphragms.
- Contraceptive injection. Inoculated by a specialist doctor, it prevents pregnancy for three months through a long-term hormonal load.
- Vasectomy. This is the name given to the surgical ligation of certain testicular ducts, preventing the release of sperm when ejaculating. It is an effective but irreversible contraceptive method.
- Tubal ligation. It is the cutting or ligation of the fallopian tubes, to produce sterility. This irreversible surgical method is widely used in the world, given its resounding effectiveness.