6 Common Birth Control Questions - Famasi Africa
Birth control methods work by preventing a man's semen from fertilizing the egg in a woman. There are no other ways of avoiding pregnancy that's proven to be effective other than condoms, the pill, and other prescribed forms of contraceptives
Preventing pregnancy is a huge part of adulthood and family planning. There are different methods of contraceptives, which work depending on their composition.
There are also factors to consider when choosing a birth control method but regardless of your choice, it's essential to use it as prescribed.
In this post, we'll answer 6 of the common questions about contraceptives.
1. Can I use emergency contraceptives for the long term?
Emergency contraception is an option if you had sex without any type of birth control or if your birth control failed. Emergency contraception helps prevent pregnancy by temporarily stopping ovulation and releasing an egg from your ovary.
You can use emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy within 5 days of unprotected sex. But it's not meant for long-term use. If you need birth control, talk to your doctor about other options.
Emergency contraception won't end a pregnancy that has already begun, and it doesn't work if you're already pregnant.
Emergency contraception is available in the form of a pill or device that you place in your vagina, such as a small plastic tube called an intrauterine device (IUD).
Emergency contraceptive pills have no long-term or serious side effects, and emergency IUD insertion doesn't increase your risk of later problems with fertility or pregnancy.
2. Do birth control methods have non-contraceptive benefits?
When it comes to preventing pregnancy, there are lots of options. But some birth control methods also come with extra health benefits, including lighter periods and clearer skin. Here's what you need to know about which forms of contraception can do more than just help you avoid an unplanned pregnancy.
Condoms are a great way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases because they create a physical barrier that keeps sperm from entering the vagina and fertilizing eggs in the fallopian tube. But they're also the only proven method of contraception that protects against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The male latex condom works best in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and other STIs or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
The pill is an oral contraceptive that stops ovulation (the release of an egg) so that sperm can't fertilize an egg. It's one of the most popular birth control methods because it's easy to use, has few side effects, and is highly effective when taken correctly.
But both the combination and progestin-only pills help make periods lighter and more regular. They can also help to reduce acne, cysts in the breasts or ovaries, iron deficiency, and menstrual cramps.
3. Can I use hormonal birth control if I have blood clots?
Plan B is safe for most people, but there are some exceptions. For example, if you have a history of blood clots, consult your Care Specialist before using hormonal methods. When blood clots are a concern, there are some methods of birth control that might not be right for you.
These include hormonal IUDs, the pill, NuvaRing, and the patch. Progestin-only pills (also called the mini-pill) don't use estrogen and may be a better option than combined hormone pills if you're concerned about blood clots.
Most forms of birth control that don't use hormones — including condoms, diaphragms, sponges, and fertility awareness — do not cause blood clots.
It's always best to consider your existing health conditions and consult your Care Specialist for proper guidance.
4. Are non-conventional contraceptive methods effective?
It is a common belief that if a woman has sex with a man after he has taken a drink or drinks immediately after sex, she will not get pregnant. Some women use laxatives like Andrews Liver Salt, anti-malarial like Quinine, and antibiotics like Ampiclox.
But these medications do not contain any form of contraceptive (such as estrogen, progesterone, etc.). They are just salt, and mineral preparations used to treat certain conditions. They are not effective, and in the case of Ampiclox, they can have serious side effects.
This is also the case for other drugs that are not known to be effective in preventing pregnancy, such as:
- Antibiotics such as tetracycline and doxycycline
- Antimalarials such as chloroquine and mefloquine
- Medications used to treat tuberculosis
- Vitamins including Vitamin C, E, and B6
Birth control methods work by preventing a man's semen from fertilizing the egg in a woman. There are no other ways of avoiding pregnancy that's proven to be effective other than condoms, the pill, and other prescribed forms of contraceptives.
5. Is it advisable to combine birth control methods?
Not all birth control methods work well together. For example, the following do not mix:
- Spermicide with a diaphragm or cervical cap
- Diaphragm or cervical cap with female condoms
- Both male and female condoms
Unless you're using a condom with another method, it's not advisable to use 2 different birth control methods.
A woman using the combined contraceptive pill is advised to use another method of contraception, such as condoms, for the first 7 days of taking the pill. This is because it takes a little while for the hormones in the pill to build up in a woman's body to be effective. However, as soon as 7 days have passed, a woman is protected against pregnancy straight away.
If you are taking the progestogen-only pill (POP), you must use another method of contraception for 2 days when you start taking this pill or if you take your pills late. This is because it takes 2 days for POPs to be effective.
A woman who uses condoms and a method of hormonal contraception, such as the combined contraceptive pill or implant, will see an increase in her level of protection against pregnancy. The additional protection comes from the barrier method used by condoms which ensure that no sperm can enter into the vagina and reach any eggs which may have been released from a woman's ovaries during her monthly cycle.
6. Can I store condoms in my wallet?
Condoms prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, but they're ineffective when misused. Like every product, they have an expiry date, but lack of proper storage can break down the material, making them weak even before the expiry date.
It's easy to buy and forget condoms till they're needed, but you shouldn't expect them to be effective without proper storage. Your body friction and heat damage condoms, making them easy to tear. As a man, how many condoms are in your wallet or back pockets?
It's essential to store your condoms away from heat to avoid drying up. If a condom has been exposed to sunlight, don't buy it. But if you've purchased without checking, the following are signs to look for:
If a condom you're about to use has any of the above, it's better to get another one or use another contraceptive method like the emergency pill and IUD discussed above.
Contraceptives are important for preventing pregnancy, but they have benefits outside their birth control purposes. It's also essential to use them as prescribed for the maximum result.