6 Temporary & Permanent Contraceptive Methods Explained

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OMH Exclusive: From Pills To Copper T, Temporary & Permanent Contraceptive Methods Explained

Contraception, or birth control, is a method to prevent contraception. Some are employed before sex and others after. There are numerous contraceptive options available. However, as India is largely conservative, sex, pregnancy, and contraception aren’t much discussed. It, in turn, leads to a lack of enough information and even misinformation. It is especially dangerous for teens and young adults who need the right information to prevent any downsides. As International Women’s Day (March 8) is just a few hours away, Onlymyhealth has launched an eight-day long campaign named ‘Healthy Nari, Happy Nari’. Under it, we are speaking to eight experts on eight topics concerning women’s health. Contraception is one such issue that affects their health. Hence, to understand different contraceptive methods in detail, their effectiveness, drawbacks, and side-effects, Onlymyhealth spoke to Dr. Deepika Aggarwal, a senior obstetrician & gynaecologist at CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram.

Most Effective Contraceptive Methods For Women

“The efficacy of contraceptive methods depends on the goal, whether she wants temporary, permanent or emergency solution(s),” said Dr. Aggarwal. Hence, the contraceptive methods for women can be loosely divided as:

Temporary Contraceptive Methods

These intend to delay pregnancy by one to two years. Some methods include:

1. Contraceptive Pills

Several contraceptive methods are available

(Photo Credit: Unsplash)

It is an easy method. You get a strip of 21 contraceptive pills that you take for 21 days. You discontinue them for seven days, during which you get your periods. It is an effective method. However, remember to take these at the same time daily and do not forget on any day, otherwise its efficacy drops.

Also read: Non-Hormonal Methods Of Contraception Explained By Dr Neema Sharma

2. Copper T

For those who do not want to take the pills, copper T can be an effective contraceptive method. In this, your gynecologist inserts a T-shaped object in the uterus. A safe option, it can be effective for more than five years.

3. Mirena Coil

It is similar to copper T, the only difference being that it has hormones. Hence, apart from contraception, it gives respite from heavy bleeding.

4. Injections

In some cases, injections can be given to prevent pregnancy. These are effective for about three months. However, they can pose some side effects, such as bleeding irregularities.

5. Barrier Contraceptives

Barrier Contraceptives are commonly called condoms

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Other than these, barrier contraceptives, commonly known as condoms, are an effective method to prevent pregnancy. However, these are more popular among men as compared to women. It is because female condoms are a bit tricky to apply. It is a diaphragm-shaped object that is inserted into the cervix. Also, it isn’t that effective compared to other contraceptive methods.

Permanent Contraceptive Methods

These can be employed by those who are sure they don’t want any more children. Women can undergo sterilization by getting their tubes either clipped or cut. Similarly, men can undergo a vasectomy to prevent pregnancy.

Emergency Contraceptive Methods

i-Pills can be taken by those women seeking emergency contraceptive methods. What sets these apart from other contraceptive pills is that they only contain progesterone, while the latter contains both estrogen and progesterone. Both these are female sex hormones. i-Pills prevent implantation of the fertilized egg into the uterus. These should only be taken in emergencies. Dr. Aggarwal recommends against their use as regular contraceptive pills. A side effect is that it can cause altered periods.

Also read: Is Breastfeeding A Natural Form Of Contraception For The New Mothers? Explains Dr Nupur Gupta

All About Oral Contraceptives

Oral Contraceptives have both advantages & disadvantages

(Photo Credit: Freepik)

When we talk about oral contraceptives, which come under temporary contraception methods, there are several myths attached. Here Dr. Aggarwal clears some air regarding it.

Myths Vs Facts On Oral Contraceptives

Here are some of the things said about oral contraceptives:

Myth 1: Oral Contraceptives Can Affect Fertility

Fact: A very safe option, oral contraceptives do not affect a woman’s fertility.

Myth 2: Oral Contraceptives Lead To Weight Gain

Fact: Since oral contraceptives involve hormonal changes, it is believed that taking them can cause weight gain. It isn’t true, and even if it happens, the effect of weight gain will be too little compared to its advantages.

Myth 3: Oral Contraceptives Can Cause Acne

Fact: Oral contraceptives do not cause acne. Although they can cause initial flare-ups in those with acne-prone skin, they can be even effective against acne after use for two to four months. 

Advantages Of Contraceptives Pills

The primary advantage of contraceptive pills is that it prevents you from getting pregnant. However, there are other advantages as well, such as:

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): It is effective in regulating irregular periods in those suffering from PCOS.
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Many women experience symptoms such as mood swings, crying spells, sleep disturbance before the start of periods. These are the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome or PMS. Contraceptive pills can be effective in relieving PMS symptoms as well.
  • Painful Periods: Contraceptive pills make your periods lighter. Hence, they also prevent painful periods.

“It is safe to take contraceptive pills for five to ten years if you want,” said Dr. Aggarwal.

Side Effects Of Contraceptive Pills

Just like any other drug, contraceptive pills have certain side effects, such as:

  • Initial acne flare-up in those with acne-prone skin.
  • Breakthrough bleeding, or spotting, in some cases.
  • Can exacerbate migraine: If you are over the age of 35 and suffer from classical migraine (patient experiences visual disturbances and extreme headache), contraceptive pills aren’t recommended.
  • Contraceptive pills are not given to those suffering from breast cancer
  • Long-term use can lead to thrombosis, which is the formation of blood clots.

Since these pills have several side effects attached, your gynecologist will ask you your health history before recommending these.

Consult A Doctor

When taking contraceptive pills, consult your doctor if:

  • You experience breakthrough bleeding
  • You get a frequent headache
  • You have calf tenderness or pain while walking, which can be the signs of blood clotting.
  • Also, if you suffer from hypertension and liver disease, consult both your physician and gynaecologist before taking contraceptive pills. These aren’t advisable for women who smoke. 

Dr. Aggarwal advises taking these in the night after dinner. Stick to the same time. A deviation of one to two hours is alright, but shouldn’t be more than that, otherwise, the efficacy drops. Hence, there are several contraceptive methods available. The need is that of more awareness and the right knowledge. Instead of getting any over-the-counter remedies, it is advisable to consult your doctor.

(With inputs from Dr. Deepika Aggarwal, a senior obstetrician & gynaecologist at CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram)

Photo Credit: Unsplash)

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