Friday, September 14, 2007

Birth Control Choices Part 2: Modern Practices

The modern methods of contraception:

• Barrier Methods

Condoms are the most popular devices acting as artificial barriers that hinder the sperm cells from going through the reproductive tract to reach the female egg cell. Both sexes can make use of this device. Condoms for male resemble a long balloon with a little reservoir tip. Female condoms, also known as ‘femidoms’, are larger and wider than male condoms and have ring-like bands as openings and brims. The material used in making these devices can be latex, polyurethane or skin membrane—often made from sheep intestines.

Contraceptive Sponges, like condoms are one popular birth control method. Though it has a failure rate ranging from 8% to 32%, its affordability and ease of use has it recognized and patronized by a lot of women. Contraceptive sponges, often made of polyurethane foam are seethed with spermicide to obstruct, absorb and kill sperm. Proper insertion of this device and having had child/children affects its effectiveness.

Diaphragms are birth control barriers that are made of thin, light, pliant silicone rubber that are shaped into a small cup or dome. It has a tractable ring crowning the top, making insertion easier. This device also makes use of spermicide for added potency. Contraceptive diaphragms are available by prescription from health providers since this have to be custom-sized.

Cervical Caps, like diaphragms blocks sperm in its way to the uterus and are only available by prescription. This device tightly covers the cervix making it more effective than a diaphragm. It consists of more parts as the bowl, dome, groove, rim and removal strap made out of rubber silicone. With cervical caps, there is no need to reapply spermicide.


• Hormonal Methods

The Pill. These are taken daily in the form of small tablets. Synthetic progestin and estrogen are most pills’ main components. These man-made hormones are based on estrogen and progesterone which are naturally furnished by the ovaries. Progestin and estrogen helps in obstructing ovulation, by acting on the pituitary glands which controls the release of eggs. These also thin the lining in the uterus, restraining the entrance of sperm cells.

The Shot. Hormonal injection, popularly known as Depo-Prevera, contains a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone, the DMPA. DMPA or depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, also acts on the pituitary glands, changes uterus lining and cervix mucus, thus making it hard for any sperm to reach the egg. These shots are given once every three months. Depo-prevera injections decrease menstrual cramps and chances of anemia because women have lighter or no menstrual period at all.
• Long Term Birth Control

Intrauterine Devices are one of the most effective forms of contraception making it most prescribed by doctors. An IUD is a t-shaped barrier composed of flexible plastic containing either hormones or copper and two transparent strings. From pregnancy, an IUD can give continuous birth control from 5 to 12 years depending on the type of use.

Tubal Ligation is a surgical procedure most prescribed to women who does not want to get pregnant again or in a very long time. It has been known to be permanent but now, due to scientific and technological advances, this procedure can be reversed. In this operation, the fallopian tubes are tied, clamped or cut to counter the travel of the eggs to the uterus and the sperm to the tubes.

Hysterectomy is another procedure for women where the whole uterus is removed. Unlike tubal ligation, this operation is not reversible.

Vasectomy is pretty much the only option aside the use of condom. To make the male infertile, a surgical procedure involving the incision of the vas deferens takes place.

I may have missed on some newer ways or means of birth control but so far, this information should be enough to educate someone who is sexually active. The sad part here is that only a few of these mentioned protects individuals from acquisition of STD. Unwanted pregnancies lead to a lot of complications including, health, financial and psychological. These methods are not cruel… having an unloved child or abortion is what’s cruel.

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