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Albright College

TIP OF THE MONTH

October

Unlike a Snuggie, birth control is not one-size-fits-all. Deciding on birth control can be a nerve-racking, new experience for college-aged people. There are many different methods on the market today. Understanding the pros and cons of the most common methods, will allow you to choose which one is right for you.

Male Condoms

  • A male condom is worn on the penis during sexual intercourse and is made of latex or lambskin.
  • It prevents pregnancy by collecting semen when a man ejaculates. This keeps the pre-ejaculate and sperm from entering the vagina.
  • The disadvantage of condoms is for people who are allergic to latex. In this case, natural condoms made of lambskin should be worn.
  • It is up to 97% effective
  • Can be used with another form of birth control for extra protection.
  • It WILL protect against most STDs.

Female Condoms

  • A female condom is a pouch that is inserted into the vagina during intercourse.
  • It prevents pregnancy by covering the inside of the vagina. It collects pre-ejaculate and semen when a man ejaculates which keeps sperm from entering the vagina.
  • Female condoms may cause irritation to the vagina, vulva, penis or anus, and may slip into the vagina during intercourse.
  • It is 95% effective.
  • It can protect against SOME STDs.

Intrauterine System (IUS)

  • An Intrauterine system is a small device that is easily placed inside the uterus. It lasts for 5 years.
  • It prevents pregnancy through progestin, a hormone that causes the mucus of the cervix to thicken so that sperm cannot reach the egg.
  • The disadvantage for this contraception is that the menstrual pattern will change and some spotting and bleeding may happen for awhile, once started.
  • It is more than 99% effective.
  • It DOES NOT protect against STDs.
  • The brand name for this contraception is Mirena.

Contraceptive Patch

  • The transdermal patch is applied to the skin, and the hormones are released through the skin. A new patch has to be applied every 7 days for 3 weeks, followed by 1 week with no patch.
  • It prevents pregnancy by preventing ovulation, changing the cervical mucus, and changing the lining of the uterus.
  • The disadvantage for this contraception is that the patch may peel off, especially if women place it where they have used soaps, lotions or oils under or over the patch. A skin irritation may develop at the site of the patch application. The patch may be slightly less effective for women who weigh more than 194 pounds.
  • It is approximately 99% effective.
  • It DOES NOT prevent against STDs.
  • The brand name for this contraception is Ortho Evra.

Vaginal Ring

  • The vaginal ring is a small, flexible ring that is inserted into her vagina once a month. It is left in place for 3 weeks and taken out for the remaining week.
  • It prevents pregnancy by releasing hormones which prevent ovulation and make the cervical mucus thicker.
  • Possible side effects of the vaginal ring are bleeding between periods, breast tenderness, nausea and vomiting, all of which should go away after 3 months. Long-lasting side effects include vaginal discharge, vaginal irritation or infection. The hormones may also change a woman’s sexual desire.
  • It is more than 98% effective.
  • It DOES NOT prevent against STDs.
  • The brand name for this contraception is NuvaRing.

Injection

  • The Birth Control shot is an injection of hormones that prevents pregnancy for 3 months.
  • It prevents pregnancy by releasing the hormone progestin, which keeps eggs from leaving the ovaries and makes the cervical mucus thicker.
  • Irregular bleeding is the most common side effect especially within the first 6 to 12 months. Periods will become shorter and lighter, and after about a year, half of women who receive this form of contraception, will stop having periods completely. Or periods may become longer and heavier. Possible increase in spotting and light bleeding between periods.
  • It is more than 99% effective.
  • It DOES NOT prevent against STDs.
  • The brand name is known as Depo-Provera or DMPA.

The Pill

  • Birth control pills are a kind of medication that women can take daily to prevent pregnancy.
  • Birth control pills are made up of hormones. Some pills are combinations of two hormones, estrogen and progestin, while others are progestin-only pills. The hormones work by keeping eggs from leaving the ovaries and by making cervical mucus thicker.
  • Approximately 99% effective.
  • It DOES NOT prevent against STDs.

If you would like to talk about contraception with a health care provider, you do not need to leave campus! The Gable Health Center Staff does offer gynecologic appointments for $35, so call 610-921-7532 to schedule an appointment today.
Source: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topcs/birth-control/birth-control-effectiveness-chart-22710.htm

- Lindsay Hendricks ’13

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