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  • Writer's pictureAdaeze Chiwoko

Hormonal VS Non-Hormonal Birth Contraceptives

Regardless of your relationship status, this is an area that all women should have some knowledge in. Failing to prepare means preparing to fail!

Non-Hormonal Birth Control

Some women don’t want to deal with the side effects and the health concerns of hormonal birth control. In that case, what are the options?

  1. Diaphragm

This is a ‘shallow cup’ made of silicone, that’s bent and inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix, stopping the sperm from joining to the egg. To be effective, it must be used with spermicide (a cream/gel that kills sperm). This device can be reused for up to 2 years and if inserted properly, neither spouse should feel it during intercourse.

  1. Cervical Cap

This is a smaller version of the Diaphragm. As stated above, if used properly, the cervical cap can be reinserted for up to 2 years. Both require a prescription, must be fitted by a doctor and cannot be used during menstruation.

  1. Spermicides

Normally in form of gels or creams, spermicides are inserted into the vagina to stop sperm from entering the uterus during intercourse. This method is easy to use, does not require a prescription, and is inexpensive. Some women might experience side effects such as irritation or allergic reactions.

  1. Male & Female condoms

Perhaps the most common form of non-hormonal birth control, the condom also stops semen from entering the vagina. Please be advised that this is the ONLY WAY to avoid STDs. Planned Parenthood says condoms are 98% effective in preventing pregnancy.

  1. The Sponge

The sponge is made of plastic foam and contains spermicide. It’s inserted into the vagina before intercourse and then removed with a nylon loop straight after. Each sponge can only be used once, and should not be left in the vagina for more than 30 hours otherwise, there is an increased risk of yeast infections and toxic shock syndrome. Continued use of this method can cause vaginal dryness and allergic reactions.

Hormonal Birth Control

Please be advised that hormonal methods of contraception do not protect you from STD’s! These forms of birth control affect each woman differently.

  1. Pills

This is one of the most effective forms of contraception, and therefore the most common. Pills contain estrogen and progestin or just progestin. The NHS has reported that if used correctly, only 1% of women experience unwanted pregnancy.

  1. Patches

Patches excrete some hormones into the body therefore effectively stopping pregnancy. According to Medical News Today, if used properly, less than 1% of women experience unwanted pregnancy.

  1. Injections

Depo-Provera is injected every 3 months and uses the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. Side effects of this include bone thinning, increased risk of osteoporosis, and ectopic pregnancy.

  1. Vaginal Rings

This is a flexible plastic ring inserted and left in the vagina for 3 weeks out of the 4-week cycle. Once again, estrogen and progestin are released into the body to prevent pregnancy. There are quite a few benefits associated with this method of birth control such as lighter periods, improved acne, and protection against certain cancers. It can also help reduce anemia and PMS.

  1. Intrauterine device (IUD)

This is a T-shaped device inserted by the doctor. There are 3 types of these; two hormonal, (Mirena and Skyla) and one non-hormonal (copper IUD). The Mirena lasts for 5 years, Skyla for 2, and the copper IUD for 10 years!

Go ahead and read Dr. Sara Gottfried's article for a collective of pros and cons to hormonal and non-hormonal contraception. Whatever route you decide to go down, do your research and make sure what you go with works for you and your body. Living in the world we do today, with its ever-advancing technology, you have no excuse!


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