Contraception – everything you need to know about it

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Contraception from A to Z. What is it, what are its types and which one to choose. A brief summary of options available on the Polish market.

What is contraception?

Fertility control, birth control are synonymous with contraception. In the simplest terms, it is a set of methods and measures, which allow you to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Contraception is not a new concept. Various (more or less effective) methods of preventing conception have been known since ancient times. On a large scale we began to talk about contraception in the twentieth century. In some countries, cultures and communities access to contraception is deliberately restricted. This is due to religious, moral, but also political beliefs.

Condoms – barrier contraceptives

Barrier contraceptives, as the name suggests, are designed to create a protective barrier to prevent the egg and sperm from joining together. Among the most popular and widely available is the male condom. Condoms are available at pharmacies, drugstores, grocery stores and gas stations. Advantages of condoms also include affordability, the fact that they provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases, and a large selection of models. Condoms are the most common contraceptive method worldwide.

Barrier contraceptives also include the female condom, the invisal condom, the diaphragm, and the vaginal sponge. Many of these – like male condoms – are enriched with spermicides, which further enhance the effectiveness of the barrier method.

Hormonal contraception – an option for women

This is a solution available only to women. With the help of hormones, the natural processes in the female body are regulated. Hormonal contraception blocks ovulation and prevents conception. It creates unfavorable conditions for the conception of a child.

Hormonal contraception is a very convenient and safe solution for stable couples. It allows you to enjoy safe sex without having to wear a condom or insert a “blockage” into your vagina. This type of protection against unwanted pregnancy comes in the form of pills, patches, injections and even subcutaneous implants. Hormones should be used strictly according to the doctor’s instructions, and the patient should get regular checkups to rule out the risk of unwanted side effects. Nowadays, it is researched and safe. It may also result in additional benefits, e.g. improvement of skin and hair condition, weight stabilization.

A method that combines barrier and hormonal protection against unplanned pregnancy is the IUD. It is an expensive solution, but sufficient for a very long time, safe and convenient.

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Contraception for men

Contraception for men is still a taboo subject in many circles. Commonly used are, of course, condoms. Less popular, however, is the vasectomy, which is a procedure involving incision and ligation of the vas deferens. This method is characterized by almost 100% effectiveness. It is safe for health, has no effect on the sexual experience, does not affect the health like the hormone therapy. Interestingly, the vasectomy is not associated with a loss of fertility permanently. It is a completely reversible process. At this point, there are no other methods that men can use. Hormonal contraception for men has been in development for years.

Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception are drugs that prevent the embryo from implanting in the uterus. It is an option that we can use only in an exceptional situation, under the supervision and prescription of a doctor. Day-after medication cannot be considered a regular method of preventing pregnancy.

Photo: nenetus/Adobe Stock

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