A contraceptive is a drug, device or method used to prevent pregnancy from occurring after sexual intercourse. Contraceptives help with family planning. They make it possible for a couple to have children when they want to and also the number of children they desire.
There are different methods of contraception available for women. A woman could make a choice on what form of contraception she feels would work best for her.Each form of contraceptive has its own side effect and it is important for you as a woman to be adequately informed so you can make the best possible choice.
Here are some of the forms of female contraceptives and their possible side effects:
A condom is a protective sheath or device that is worn during sexual intercourse to prevent semen from entering the vagina thereby preventing fertilization. Condom falls under the barrier method of contraception. It has no known side effects as long as the type used do not cause allergic reactions. Condoms are therefore generally safe to use to prevent pregnancy. Condoms are 82% effective in preventing pregnancy
This also falls under the barrier category. It is a device worn inside the vagina and which covers the cervix and prevents sperm from entering the uterus. It is used with a spermicide. A spermicide is a cream, gel or jelly that kills sperm. The diaphragm is 80% effective. Similar to condoms, they also do not have side effects except in the case of allergic reactions. Just like condoms, it does not have any effect on the male and female reproductive function
There are two types of contraceptive pills (combined contraceptive pill and progestogen-only pill) but they both work mainly by stopping ovulation. Once ovulation is stopped, fertilization cannot occur neither can there be conception. The combined pill is more than 99% effective if taken correctly while the progestogen-only pill is 99% effective if taken correctly. The commonly reported side effects of these pills are: weight gain, missed periods, decreased libido, nausea, mood changes, headaches, breast tenderness, among others
It is a long-acting and reversible form of contraception. A contraceptive implant is a tube that is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. It is inserted by a doctor and it could prevent pregnancy for up to three years. The implant releases progestogen into the body, stopping ovulation. The implant can be removed once a woman decides to get pregnant, and it usually does not create delay in fertilization. The implant is more than 99% effective if fixed correctly. Its side effect are: bruising, swelling and tenderness around the skin where the implant is placed (this usually subsides after some days); irregular, prolonged, light or heavy periods (symptoms improve after the first year); and amenorrhoea (period completely stopping)
- Intrauterine device.
It is a tiny device inserted into the uterus by a doctor to prevent pregnancy. It is long-term and reversible. There are two types – hormonal and copper. The hormonal IUD prevents pregnancy for three to five years, while the cooper IUD prevents pregnancy for up to ten years. Both types work by damaging or killing sperm. IUDs are more than 99% effective. Side effects are: mild cramping and light bleeding for the first two days after insertion, ovarian cysts (which usually go on their own), breast tenderness, acne, headaches and menstrual problems
There are three types of contraceptive injections, with each of them lasting for different periods. Regardless of the type of injection, there is a 99% protection against pregnancy. Side effects generally include: weight gain, period problems, breast tenderness, acne and thinning of the bones
Once you decide to use contraceptives, visit your doctor so you can obtain more information on your choice.