Birth Control Methods for Male and Female

Condoms and contraceptive pills

Having an effective birth control plan is essential for any couple who are afraid of early pregnancy that they are not ready for. Although there are pregnancy management techniques, it is important to note that prevention is always a better option. It is highly recommended by all health care professionals that you have a birth control plan that you can follow and rely on. But with so many options available for both men and women, which is the right option for you? Some methods might not suit you while others will work like a charm. With different types of birth control measures come different pros and cons and a varying level of effectiveness. There are also various accepted birth control practices that are used in society that is not always considered to be safe or effective. Here, we discuss the various birth control options available for both men and women that are considered safe by most healthcare specialists.

What is Birth Control?

Any technique or method to prevent a pregnancy or lower the chances of a pregnancy can be called birth control; there are many different types of birth control techniques. Some of these are more religious or considered not scientifically valid like the use of rosemary to prevent a pregnancy. It is advised that you seek the advise if your doctors before going on any form of birth control.

Some types of birth control can be considered hypoallergenic, to understand more about these forms of birth control, please consult your personal healthcare provider.

Birth control is any method, device or medicine used to prevent pregnancies. There are many that are medically considered trusted and have solid scientific evidence of prevention that is also low risk. The one that you need to opt for depends on your health, desire to have children, and if you need it to also protect you from sexually transmitted diseases as well.

Which is the Best Birth Control Method?

Methods of contraception

There is not one method that is considered to be the best form of birth control. There are numerous factors at play that will influence your choice of birth control, and if you have a partner, even their preferences and health will factor into the birth control of choice. If you are happy using one form of birth control now, the chances are that you might want to change the method as your preferences and priorities change. Some of the factors that will influence your birth control of choice are:

  • When and if you want children
  • The effectiveness of the method
  • Side effects
  • Your sexual activity
  • Your health
  • Your comfort level with the method

You must talk to your doctor about all these factors before deciding upon a particular form of birth control. It is advised that you consult a healthcare specialist if the method is uncomfortable or you have an unnatural reaction to the type of birth control you choose. Remember, consulting your doctor is also an opportunity to complete your routine STD checks, these checks are critical for your safety and the safety of those around you. It is recommended that you do a routine STD panel every 3 months during the time that your sexual activity is more routine.

Different Types of Birth Control Options for Men and Women

Birth control can be broadly divided into two main categories.

1. Contraception

Contraception is considered one of the most popular methods of birth control due to its relative availability and low risk of side effects, the contraception method ensures that the ovum is not fertilized by a sperm.

2. Contragestion

This is better known as the emergency contraception. The morning-after pill is taken to prevent a fertilized egg from attaching itself to the uterine wall, thus preventing pregnancy.

Comparison Chart of the Birth Control Method

Below is a chart that is a compilation of birth control methods along a degree of effectiveness and risk factors.

Method of Birth Control Chances Of Child Birth Effectiveness Protection Against STDs
Abstinence None Completely effective Yes
Birth Control Implant Fewer than 1 out of 100 Very effective No
IUD Fewer than 1 out of 100 Very effective No
Birth Control Patch 9 out of 100 Effective No
Birth Control Pill 9 out of 100 Effective No
Vaginal Ring 9 out of 100 Effective No
Birth Control Injection 6 out of 100 Effective No
Emergency Contraception up to 11 out of 100 (if taken as per instructions) Effective No
Male Condom 18 out of 100 Moderately effective Yes
Diaphragm 12 out of 100 Moderately effective No
Female Condom 21 out of 100 Less effective Yes
Fertility Awareness 24 out of 100 Less effective No
Spermicide 29 out of 100 Less effective No
Withdrawal 27 out of 100 Less effective No
Sex Without Birth Control 85 out of 100 Not effective No

Birth Control Options for Men

There are birth control options for both men and women. However, the options for men are far fewer than what is available to women. It is always recommended to combine numerous methods of birth control to ensure prevention is at a higher chance; this could, for instance, entail your partner wearing a condom, you going on the pill and during intercourse using the pull out method.

That being said, what are the safe and reliable birth control options on the market today that is available to both genders? Here are a few birth control methods that men can use.

1. Outercourse

Outercourse is the general term that refers to any type of sexual activity that does not include vaginal intercourse. This includes oral sex. Since there is no penetration of the vagina, the chances of pregnancy are greatly reduced.

Advantages

  • Partners can take more time with outercourse in order understand each other’s preferences and what gives them sexual pleasure.
  • No vaginal penetration reduces the chance of pregnancy.
  • No side effects caused from hormonal influence.
  • Reduced chance of contracting a sexual disease

Disadvantages

  • If pre-ejaculate or ejaculate is spilt on the vulva or surrounding regions, then there could be a chance of pregnancy.
  • Partners might find it hard to refrain from vaginal penetration after stimulation.

2. Condoms

Condoms are made from latex and are meant to be worn on top of the penis. It acts as a barrier between the skin of the penis and the vagina and collects the semen in order to prevent any sperm from entering the vagina.

Advantages

  • Condoms have one of the highest rates of effectiveness when it comes to preventing pregnancies.
  • Condoms are also the best way to prevent transmission of any sexual disease from one partner to the other.
  • They are cheap and easily available.
  • No side effects on either partner.

Disadvantages

  • A small percentage of the population has an allergy to latex which is what most condoms are made from.
  • Some men do not like how the condom feels.
  • Condoms can break, and this generally means that the contraceptive method has failed.

3. Withdrawal

One of the oldest forms of contraception, withdrawal involves pulling out the penis just before ejaculation.

Advantages

  • Partners can enjoy vaginal intercourse without any barriers.
  • The penis is removed before it ejaculates into the vagina which prevents pregnancy.

Disadvantages

  • It is possible for a woman to get pregnant even with the small amounts of sperm present in pre-ejaculation.
  • If the man has a history of premature ejaculation, then pulling out on time might be unreliable.
  • This method does not protect you from any sexually transmitted diseases.

4. Vasectomy

A vasectomy is a method of contraception that is permanent and is almost 100% effective. It involves the closing off or blocking of the tube in the penis that is responsible for carrying sperm. The sperm is not allowed to leave the body of the man and is instead absorbed by his body. You must keep in mind that a vasectomy is reversible.

Advantages

  • A vasectomy is almost 100% effective.
  • It is ideal for men who are sure that they do not want to have children anymore.
  • The procedure is simple and can be carried out in your doctor’s clinic in under 20 minutes.
  • None of your hormones is affected.
  • This method is reversible.

Disadvantages

  • The procedure is not effective immediately as there will be some build-up of sperm in the penis already that will take a few months to be dispelled.
  • This method does not protect you or your partner from sexually transmitted diseases.

It is imperative that you consult with your doctor before deciding on a particular form of birth control. Knowing all the risks and rewards involved will help you make a better choice.

Birth Control Options for Women

There many more forms of birth control methods for women. These options are all safe and ensure you will be able to safely have sex with lower risk of pregnancy; none of these techniques also harm the ability for your eggs to be fertilized in the future should you feel the need to have children down the line. Remember, to lower the risk of STD’s and pregnancy further, insist that your partner also use a type of birth control such as condoms. Here are a few female birth control methods that you can consider.

1. Birth Control Pills

These are considered to be one of the most effective forms of birth control for women. Pharmaceutical companies pump out hundreds of birth control pills, each claiming a different purpose, but they fall into two broad categories. The first type is known as combination pill and contains the hormones estrogen and progestin. The second only contains progestin. You must consult with your OB/GYN in order to understand which option will suit you best.

Advantages

  • This method is one of the most effective birth control options for women.
  • The pills reduce the severity of symptoms that occur during menstruation.
  • This method does not involve an option that has to be inserted or implanted in the body.

Disadvantages

  • Since these pills do affect your hormone levels, you might experience some side effects.
  • Some types of pills have to be taken every day at the same time, which some women might find it hard to do.
  • Certain women who are suffering from high blood pressure, blood clots, liver and heart valve issues will not be able to opt for this method.

2. Female Condoms

This is an inverted pouch made from latex that is inserted into the vagina in order to collect the ejaculate and prevent sperm from entering the vagina. It is disposable and can be worn up to eight hours before intercourse.

Advantages

  • This method does not involve any influence on hormonal levels.
  • It offers some amount of protection from sexually transmitted diseases.
  • It is widely available.

Disadvantages

  • It is not the most effective method of birth control.
  • Female condoms are made from latex which in some instances, can induce an allergic reaction.
  • It can be noisy.

3. Diaphragm

To be placed over the cervix just before sex, it is made from rubber and is shaped like a dome. This form of contraceptive can also be used in conjunction with a spermicide.

Advantages

  • It is a relatively cheap option, and one diaphragm can typically be used for up to two years.
  • This method does not involve any influence of hormones on the body.
  • No side effects.
  • Cheap and easy to find.

Disadvantages

  • Unfortunately, it does not offer protection from sexually transmitted diseases. Thus, avoid using this with sexual partners who you are not intimately familiar with.
  • You will have to get it fitted by a doctor.
  • It has a 16% failure rate
  • Cannot be used during menstruation due to the increased chances of toxic shock syndrome.

4. Vaginal Ring

The vaginal ring is a thin ring that is placed inside the vagina which then releases the same hormones as the pill. You have to replace the ring only once a month.

Advantages

  • You only have to replace the ring once a month.
  • It is just as effective as taking birth control pills.
  • Symptoms of menstruation will ease up.

Disadvantages

  • It is a relatively costly option.
  • The hormones might cause some side effects.
  • Might cause some type of vaginal irritation.
  • It offers little protection against sexually transmitted diseases, meaning that strangers would not qualify as safe sexual partners.

5. IUD

IUD stands for intrauterine device. It is a T-shaped plastic device and comes in two varieties. The first one is a hormone IUD which releases progestin to prevent pregnancy while the second type is wrapped in some copper. Both types prevent the sperm from reaching the ova. This prevents any chances of pregnancy.

Advantages

  • Depending on the type of IUD you opt for, once the IUD has been inserted, you do not have to worry about for 3 to 12 years.
  • This is one of the most reliable and effective methods of contraception available to women.
  • With an effective period of 120 hours after intercourse, it can be used as an emergency contraceptive measure.
  • It eases up the symptoms of menstruation.
  • The copper IUD does not affect hormone levels.

Disadvantages

  • There are some side effects that include nausea, irregular periods, and cramping.
  • This birth control method does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.

6. Tube Ligation

This is a birth control measure that has permanent consequences and recommended for women who are sure that they do not want to have children anymore. The fallopian tubes are tied off which prevents the ovum from leaving the ovaries.

Advantages

  • It is one of the permanent birth control methods and has 100% effectiveness.
  • No effect on hormones.

Disadvantages

  • If you choose to have children later on, it can be very expensive to reverse.
  • There could be some complications during the procedure.
  • This method does not protect you from the risk of contracting any sexually transmitted diseases.
  • It can be an expensive procedure if it isn’t covered by your insurance.

7. Birth Control Injection

This is an injection that is administered every three months. The birth control shot reduces the chances of pregnancy drastically, and you will have to take the injection only four times a year.

Advantages

  • This is a simple procedure to ensure that you get a high level of protection.
  • You have to get the shot only four times a year.

Disadvantages

  • It can have some side effects.
  • It can prove to be expensive if the procedure is not covered by your insurance.
  • This procedure doesn’t protect you from contracting any sexually transmitted diseases.

8. Birth Control Patch

This is a patch that releases hormones into your body at regular intervals, thus preventing the occurrence of pregnancy. It is placed directly on the skin you will need one patch per week.

Advantages

  • You do not have to worry about taking a pill at the same time every day.
  • This is a relatively cheap option.
  • It relieves more severe symptoms of menstruation.

Disadvantages

  • It will affect the hormone levels in your body.
  • It does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Some people might experience minor allergic reactions to the patch.

As you can see, there are many options for birth control for both men and women. When making the choice of birth control, it is best that you learn all the pros and cons of each option and also approach your doctor for advice. Not all of the above-mentioned methods are ideal for everybody. Your doctor will need to know your full medical history along with your partner’s if you have one.

You should also tell your doctor if you are planning on having children and when. It might seem premature to give a definitive answer to whether you might want to have children but having this conversation will help you and your doctor arrive at a solution that will suit your health and needs best. Be sure that you discuss any form of birth control side effects before you decide on a particular method.

It is also extremely important to educate yourself about sex, the role of birth control, STDs and safe sex practices. For this reason, it is recommended that you research the topic and also have an open and in-depth conversation with your doctor about these topics. It is always beneficial to prevent a possible pregnancy you aren’t ready for, planning your pregnancy allows your partner and you the time to prepare and ensure you are at a stable period in your life to care for the child, this is another reason to communicate with your partner and ensure he uses birth control options that are available to him.