Other Types of Birth Control

Even though the pill was invented in the 1950s, contraceptives date as far back as ancient Mesopotamia, around 1850 BC, these methods were far from being reliable and safe, not to mention ineffective. It is said that women in Ancient Egypt would use a combination of cotton, dates, honey, and leaves of acacia as a cervical cap to prevent sperm from entering the womb. Other forms of birth control included crocodile dung, animal intestines, and even acidic douches. Thankfully, we've passed all of that, and after years of scientific research in the mid-1960s, we got the birth control pill. It is not perfect and, for many women, is more of a painful hassle, but it gets the job done 91% of the time.

We can all agree that the pill has helped spread awareness on safe and effective birth control methods. It has helped us take charge of our bodies, our lives, and our reproductive decisions. But, as mentioned before, the pill comes with all sorts of struggles for women. The symptoms that come as a result of taking birth control are all but fun. We know of other birth control methods like the sympto-thermal method, which is entirely natural and safe. But I understand we may not have the time or energy to go through all the tracking and monitoring required to make the sympto-thermal method an effective form of birth control. So, we present a few other forms of contraceptives you may or may not have heard about before.



Vaginal Ring


The vaginal ring is a flexible, latex-free ring you place inside your vagina. The vaginal ring is similar to the pill, as it contains estrogen and progestin hormones that will be released into your body when you have your ring on. Your body will absorb these hormones and stop your ovulation. Subsequently, the hormones the ring releases will make your cervix mucus thick, in an attempt to stop the fertilization process (the joining of the sperm with an egg).


Effectivity

Your ring will be as effective as the way you use it. The correct usage of your ring will give you 99% effectiveness. This means that it is up to you to maintain the correct schedule for the insertion and replacement of your ring.

Types of rings

There are currently two types of vaginal rings in the market. The NuvaRing will last you for up to 5 weeks; you can replace it once a month and rest during your period. The ANNOVERAa ring, on the other hand, will last for at least 13 cycles. You will insert your ANNOVERA ring for 21 days and safely store it for 7 days; during your period, after the 7 days, you can put it back again.

Side Effects

Because the ring releases hormones into your body, you ought to experience side effects from its usage. The good thing is that these symptoms don't apply to everyone, some may experience the symptoms going away after the first few months, and others don't experience symptoms at all.

  • Headaches

  • Nausea

  • Breast tenderness

  • Changes in your period

  • Spotting

  • Vagina lubrication


Pros and Cons

Pros:

  1. 99% effective when used correctly

  2. Convenient

  3. It can help regulate your period

  4. The hormones in the ring can help alleviate PMS

  5. You can get pregnant right after stopping its usage

Cons:

  1. You have to put it in on time, or you can risk getting pregnant

  2. There are side effects

  3. Risk of estrogen-related medical issues


Patch


The birth control patch works similarly to the vaginal ring, except it goes outside your body instead of inside. The patch is a transdermal contraceptive that releases hormones through your skin to help prevent pregnancy. Just like the ring, the patch helps prevent the fertilization of an egg from the sperm. It releases estrogen and progestin to stop ovulation. And just like the ring, it helps your cervix mucus become thicker to prevent sperm from swimming up your business. The patch can be placed either in your belly, butt, back, or upper arm, depending on the type of patch you purchase.

Effectivity

The patch is 99% effective if used appropriately. Like with our previous contraceptive, you must make sure to constantly be reminded of the time of its replacement. Taking precautions like making sure your patch is well adhered to your skin and checking daily that the edges are not sticking out can help.


Types of patches

There are two types of patches in the market; the Xulane patch and the Twirla patch. They both work the same; the only difference is that the Twirla patch you cannot place on your upper arm, while with the Xulane patch, you can.

Side Effects

Just as before, because the patch releases hormones into your skin, you may experience some side effects.

  • Headaches

  • Nausea

  • Breast tenderness

  • Changes in your period

  • Spotting

  • Vagina lubrication

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  1. 99% effective when used correctly

  2. Convenient

  3. It can help regulate your period

  4. The hormones in the ring can help alleviate PMS

  5. You can get pregnant right after stopping its usage

Cons:

  1. You have to put it in on time, or you can risk getting pregnant

  2. There are side effects

  3. Risk of estrogen-related medical issues



Birth Control Sponge


The birth control sponge is precisely a sponge made from soft plastic that you insert into your vagina before intercourse. The sponge contains spermicide to help prevent pregnancy. Spermicide is a chemical used for birth control that stops sperm from reaching an egg. Spermicide is safe for most people, but it can still present a risk like vaginal irritation or increase the risk of an STD. The sponge works by blocking the entrance of sperm to your uterus. The sponge can be used by itself or with a condom to increase effectiveness.


Effectivity

The effectiveness of the sponge depends on various factors. If you have never given birth before, you can be looking at about a 91% effectivity rate. If you have given birth, the effectiveness lowers to 80%. All of this is you know how to wear the sponge perfectly. To make this form of contraceptive more effective, use it along with another birth control method.

Side Effects

  • Allergic reaction to the spermicide

  • Irritation

  • Risk of toxic shock syndrome

  • Vaginal dryness

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • It's convenient

  • Doesn't need a prescription

  • Hormone-free option

Cons:

  • You need to have it before you have sex

  • You need to know how to use it correctly

  • You need to leave it 6 hours after having sex, but no more than 30

  • It has side effects

  • It can increase your risks of STDs



Cervical Cap