Condom Choices for Effective Birth Control

Contraception is used to prevent pregnancy. Some methods have the additional benefit of preventing sexually-transmitted diseases such as syphilis and HIV. They are called barrier methods of birth control. One popular barrier method is the condom.


The idea behind the condom is that it would provide a barrier between the egg and the sperm. If the two can’t get together, then they can’t make a baby.


Condoms have come a long way in the last 90 to 100 years. They have been made of rubber, animal skins and plastic. Some have been thick and some really thin. Their first job is to prevent pregnancy.


Condoms work by fitting over the male penis or into the female vagina. Female condoms are sold, but they haven’t taken off as well as the traditional male condom. Condoms that are the right size fit snuggly but leave room at the top for ejaculated semen. Female condoms fit in the vagina using two rings to secure it.


Animal skin condoms aren’t used much anymore. It was usually sheepskin condoms that were sold. Just like your skin, sheepskin had tiny pores in it. These pores were large enough for certain diseases to be transmitted from one partner to the other. If you are concerned with other issues besides pregnancy (and most of us are) animal skin condoms are a definite no-no.


Latex condoms compose the majority of condom brands. They have no tiny pores and have a percent pregnancy prevention rate in the mid-80s. Unfortunately, some people are allergic to natural rubber latex. When you think of latex allergies, you first think of gloves being a problem, but using a latex condom causes its share of irritation and rashes down below.


Companies have also created a polyurethane, or plastic, condom for those with latex allergies. It is also supposed to be effective, provided you use it in the same careful way as you would any condom.


Pros of Condoms:


  • Condoms are a barrier 85 percent of the time against pregnancy. That percentage increases when using condoms that contain a spermicidal ingredient such as nonoxynol-9.
  • Condoms also protect against sexually-transmitted diseases if using latex or plastic varieties.
  • Condom manufacturers have created a line of condoms that are designed to combat the complaint of decreased sensitivity. Users can choose from extra sensitive, warming condoms, colorful condoms (including glow-in-the-dark), ribbed and even flavored condoms.
  • Condoms are cheap and can be picked up for free from most health departments.


Cons of Using Condoms:


  • Female condoms can cause vaginal irritation from the rings.
  • Condoms only work if you use them and use them properly. A poorly fitting one can malfunction, as can one that is out of date.
  • They are not always easy to put on. Poor placement can lead to possible pregnancy or STDs.


Condoms are a favored method of birth control because they do double duty. With the new features for condoms it is easier to work them into your sexual experiences and therefore make sure they get used each and every time. But again, they are only as effective as the way you use them, and how often.



The Birth Control Patch Pros and Cons

Birth control is used by women of various childbearing ages. As soon as you get your first period, your body says that it is ready to make a baby. In the great unlikelihood that you are also ready at that point, a method of birth control that can help you is the birth control patch.


The birth control patch was introduced in the early 2000s as the Ortho Evra patch.  If you’ve ever seen the commercials, it is marketed to the younger generation. Young adults have a lot going on and it is easy to forget to take a birth control pill every day. As a solution, young women can use a birth control patch to keep from getting pregnant.


The patch is a small square that contains two hormones: estrogen and progestin. The hormones are released through the skin when the patch is applied. Each patch is good for one week. After that week is up you apply a new patch for the next week. The fourth week there is no patch because you will experience your period at that time.


Wearing the patch means no missed pills and no awkward forms of contraception like the sponge or the ring. You apply it in a certain place and don’t think about it again until it is time to change it. The birth control patch can be applied to the buttocks, the arm, the lower abdomen or the upper body, excluding the breast area.


The patch has the same side effects as the contraceptive pill. You may experience heavy bleeding, headaches, bloating, cramping and nausea. The patch isn’t for everyone. For instance, there has been some talk that the patch is not as effective in women who weigh over 200 pounds.


Pros of Using the Birth Control Patch:


  • The birth control patch will stay on through normal activities including bathing, swimming and sweating.
  • There is nothing to take. Just adhere the patch and let the hormones do the rest.


Cons of the Birth Control Patch:


  • The levels of estrogen in the patch put women at increased risk for side effects.
  • The patch can come off if you use oils or lotion on or near it. At that point you are unprotected and need a new patch right away.
  • The patch doesn’t protect against sexually-transmitted diseases.
  • The cost can be expensive for a month’s supply (three patches).


For the woman constantly on the go with work or a busy social calendar, the patch means less worry about pregnancy. You can put it on and leave it be to do the job.