Birth Control Methods (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
In this Article
- Birth control facts
- What are the different types of birth control available?
- What are hormonal birth control options (including oral contraceptives pills)?
- What are barrier methods of birth control (including condoms)?
- What are natural birth control options?
- What about surgical sterilization (tubal ligation or vasectomy) for birth control?
- What is emergency contraception?
- What are IUDs (intrauterine devices)?
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
What are barrier methods of birth control (including condoms)?
Barrier options prevent fertilization of the egg by a sperm cell. These either prevent contact between egg and sperm via a physical block or kill sperm cells before they are able to fertilize an egg. Examples of physical barrier contraceptives include the diaphragm, condoms, and the cervical cap or shield. Contraceptive sponges contain a spermicide cream to kill sperm cells, and other forms of spermicides are available as well. Spermicides may be used in combination with barrier methods for greater effectiveness.
Side effects of barrier methods of birth control can include an increased risk for developing urinary tract infections (UTIs) if using a diaphragm and spermicide. Leaving a diaphragm or cervical cap in for longer than 24 hours increases your risk for toxic shock syndrome. Finally, some people may have allergies to the chemicals used in spermicide creams or other spermicide products. They may develop irritation of the vagina or penis.
What are natural birth control options?
Natural methods involve tracking a woman's menstrual cycle to try to determine when ovulation is most likely to occur, and avoiding sexual intercourse (or using barrier contraceptives) during that time. There are different ways to detect ovulation, including the basal body temperature method and the use of home ovulation test kits. Checking and recording the consistency of cervical mucus is another way to help determine when ovulation occurs.
What about surgical sterilization (tubal ligation or vasectomy) for birth control?
Surgical sterilization is a form of permanent birth control that is available for both women (tubal ligation) and men (vasectomy). Sterilization implants are a more recent type of permanent birth control that is available for women that allows women to avoid the surgical procedure associated with tubal ligation.
Although women who have had tubal ligation do not have side effects after recovering from the procedure, any surgery itself carries a small risk of infection or bleeding as well as complications from the anesthetic agents.
Likewise, the vasectomy procedure is associated with small risks from the procedure as well as some swelling and pain in the days following the procedure.
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