There are currently around twenty different types of contraception available. Here we have compiled a list with a brief explanation of each one. We recommend finding out more information on the one considered most suitable for each circumstance.
1- Barrier contraceptives
- Condoms: there are no contraindications for these. The best method for preventing sexually transmitted diseases.
- Spermicide: this acts as a chemical barrier, preventing sperm from reaching the uterus. It must be used in conjunction with another method, because its effectiveness is low when used on its own.
- Female condoms: these are made from nitrile rubber. They protect the user from unwanted pregnancy and from STDs. They are less effective than the male version.
- The diaphragm: a flexible silicone dome that is positioned against the cervix. It does not cover the mucous membrane of the vagina and therefore it is not recommended for avoiding STDs.
- The vaginal sponge: this is a device made from polyurethane foam containing spermicide. It should only be removed after 6 hours have elapsed since having sex. It does not prevent STDs.
2- Hormonal contraceptives
- The pill: this should only be taken with a prescription from a doctor. It can help with several problems, but it can also have side effects.
- The progestogen-only mini pill: this emerged as a result of the side effects caused by the pill due to oestrogens. It has to be taken every day at the same time.
- The morning-after pill (MAP): due to its high dose of hormones, this should only be administered on an occasional basis and within 72 hours of having sex.
- The contraceptive patch: this is a simple adhesive patch that is applied to the skin and needs to be changed once a week.
- The vaginal ring: this is a ring made of an ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer that releases oestrogen and progesterone. It can be inserted by the woman herself. It lasts for three weeks.
- The contraceptive injection: this has similar benefits and side effects to the pill. The injection is given in a gynaecology consultation.
- The contraceptive implant: this is highly effective as a contraceptive. A subcutaneous implant of a small plastic tube that releases hormones. It lasts for three years.
3- Permanent contraception
- Vasectomy: a simple surgical procedure in which the vas deferens, which transport sperm, are severed.
- Tubal ligation: this is carried out by means of a surgical procedure or by endoscopy.
4- Alternative natural methods
- The rhythm or calendar method: a woman’s most fertile days occur around the fifteenth day of her menstrual cycle. If, for example, she has finished menstruating on day 1, she will ovulate between day 13 and day 15. The problem is that women are not regular in their menstruation and, furthermore, that there are days when they are at risk in addition to their fertile days.
- Coitus interruptus, or the withdrawal method: this involves withdrawing the penis prior to ejaculation. The problem is that the man may not withdraw in time, and also that pre-seminal fluid contains small quantities of sperm.
- Cervical mucous: a few days before ovulation begins, cervical mucous becomes more elastic. This is one way of discovering our fertile period.
- Breastfeeding: women who are breastfeeding do not ovulate, as prolactin inhibits this process. If it is less than six months since they gave birth and if the baby is being fed exclusively on breast milk. However, there are many contributing factors that influence the effectiveness of this and as such these factors should be considered carefully.
Finally, we recommend that if you have any questions or concerns, you should see a doctor in order to choose the most suitable contraceptive method for each individual situation. Here at IVI we will be delighted to help you.