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Contraception A to Z: everything you need to know 

Contraception A to Z: everything you need to know 

Contraception is an important part and privilege of modern life that helps us plan and control our reproduction and livelihood. In this article, we’ll tell you about all the different types of contraceptives, their advantages and disadvantages, so that you can make an informed decision for yourself. Whether it’s your first-time using contraceptives or you’re looking to change your chosen method, we aim to give you the truth so you can explore all your options and decide what’s best for you.  

Hormonal contraceptives

Hormonal contraceptives are among the most widespread methods of preventing unwanted pregnancy.  

These include: 

  • tablets 
  • patches  
  • injections  
  • vaginal rings 

Different types of hormonal contraceptives contain a certain amount of female sex hormones, estrogen and progestin (progestin is the human-made form of progesterone) which work by changing the body’s natural cyclical processes in order to prevent pregnancy. 

The main way which they protect against unwanted pregnancy are: suppressing ovulation, changes in cervical mucus, and making the lining of the uterus an inhospitable environment for implantation. 

Hormonal contraceptives can have side effects such as nausea, weight gain and changes in the menstrual cycle. One of their other drawbacks is that they are not a method of preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, some experts believe that hormonal contraceptives can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, such as ovarian and endometrial cancer.  
Birth control pills are a suitable and preffered method for couples in a long-term relationship who don’t have STIs or STD’s and have no sexual contact with other partners – thus eliminating the risk of both unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Birth control pills must be taken at the same time every day to be maximally effective

Intrauterine contraceptives 

Intrauterine contraceptives (or IUDs) are small devices which can prevent pregnancy. They are inserted into the uterus by an obstetrician-gynecologist. IUDs can be hormonal or non-hormonal (copper). Hormonal IUDs release progestin, which prevents ovulation, while copper IUDs cause an inflammatory reaction in the uterus that is toxic to sperm. Copper IUDs are effective for up to 10 years and can also be used as emergency contraception

The advantages of IUDs include long-lasting protection without the need for daily maintenance. Disadvantages include the reported pain that comes with inserting and removing them, potential side effects such as cramping and irregular periods in the first few months, and surprise pregnancies. The surprise pregnancies occur in less than 1% of the time in a period of 12 months, but are still important to mention. Like birth control, it is important to note that they do not protect against STIs. Like birth control, it is important to mention that they do not protect against STIs


The diaphragm is a barrier method to prevent unwanted pregnancy that gets inserted into the vagina before intercourse. It covers the cervix and prevents sperm from passing. For greater protection, the part of the surface that fits tightly to the cervix is coated with spermicide. The diaphragm protects the cervix and collects the spermicidal cream, which reduces and stops sperm activity. The purpose of the diaphragm is like that of a condom – to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. It is another method of contraception that does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases

A disadvantage of using a diaphragm is the specific conditions that need to be met, for it to work effectively. Many partners can find meeting these conditions uncomfortable, but on the other hand, it offers users reproductive control without hormonal intervention. Its other disadvantages except the required care, include an increased risk of urinary tract infections, and allergic reactions to the silicone or latex material they are made of.  

What are some of the conditions to use a diaphragm? 

  • Should be inserted into the vagina no more than 6 hours before intercourse 
  • If it remains in the vagina for more than 6 hours or your partner is going in for another round, more spermicide cream needs to be applied 
  • The diaphragm needs to remain inside the vagina for minimum 6 hours but in no case should it be left inside for more than 24 hours 


Spermicides are chemicals that kill or immobilize sperm. They can be used alone or in combination with other barrier methods such as diaphragms and condoms. Spermicides are available as gels, creams, foams, and vaginal tablets. The effectiveness of spermicides is lower compared to other methods when used alone. 

Spermicides are easy to use and are another non-hormonal contraceptive, but they can cause irritation and allergic reactions


Condoms are one of the most popular methods of contraception, which also protect against sexually transmitted infections, which is their biggest plus . They are divided into male and female condoms. 

Male condoms 

Male condoms are thin, elastic sheaths that are placed over the penis. They prevent sperm from entering the vagina. Correct use of male condoms is critical to their effectiveness. They should be inserted before any contact between the penis and the vagina and removed carefully to avoid spilling any semen. It’s also very important that the condom is the right size, so that there is no risk of tearing or slipping off during intercourse. There are thousands of condom variations on the market, some of which also stimulate pleasure during sex, so when it comes to this type of contraception, your options are abundant. 

Female condoms 

Female condoms are inner sheaths that are inserted into the vagina before intercourse. They cover the vaginal walls and prevent the passage of sperm. Female condoms offer women additional control over their contraception and protect against diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, AIDS and more. 

Condoms are easy to use and affordable, but there is always the risk of them ripping or not correctly placed/used. However, they are the only method that protects against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections

Emergency contraception 

Emergency contraception, sometimes called the “after-sex pill,” (or plan B) is used after unplanned and unprotected intercourse or failure of another contraceptive method. This type of contraception most often involves special pills and sometimes intrauterine devices. Emergency contraceptive pills contain high doses of hormones that prevent ovulation and fertilization. Copper IUDs can also be used as emergency contraception if inserted within five days of unprotected intercourse. 

Emergency contraception is an effective method of preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex but should not be used as a primary method of contraception due to higher hormone doses and potential side effects such as nausea and irregular periods.  

After having unprotected sex, especially if it’s with a new partner, it’s a good idea to see your obstetrician-gynecologist to check you for potential sexually transmitted infections. In these situations, try to stay calm and know that this is completely normal and your health should come first.  


Sterilisation is a permanent method of contraception that is suitable for people who are certain that they do not wish to have children. In women, this involves closing or cutting the fallopian tubes, and in men, cutting or closing the vas deferens (vasectomy). Sterilisation is a highly effective method, but it is important to keep in mind that it is very difficult to reverse, which should be taken into account when making such a radical decision. 

Sterilization offers over 99% effectiveness, but involves surgery and also does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. It is only suitable for couples who are sure that they do not want more children. 

The choice of contraceptive method is individual and depends on many factors such as health status, lifestyle and personal preferences. It is important to consult a medical professional who can help you find the most suitable method for you. Here are some additional tips and factors to consider when making your choice: 

Health condition

Your state of health plays a key role in choosing a contraceptive . Some methods may not be suitable if you have certain health problems, such as high blood pressure, migraines or a history of blood clots. Your doctor will be able to advise you on which method is safest for you.


Your lifestyle can also influence your choice. For example, if you lead a very active life or travel often, you may prefer a method that requires less daily maintenance, such as an intrauterine device (IUD) or an injection. If you prefer to be in control of your daily regimen, hormone pills may be a good choice, but they require regularity and discipline. 

Personal preferences 

Your personal preferences are also important. Some people prefer non-hormonal methods, while others may look for methods that have additional benefits such as regulating the menstrual cycle or reducing acne. It is important to feel comfortable with the method you choose and to be informed about its advantages and disadvantages. 

Efficacy and side effects 

Be sure to consider the effectiveness of different methods and potential side effects. Each method has a different degree of effectiveness and can cause different reactions in the body. Talking to a medical professional will help you understand what to expect and how best to prepare.