Tuesday, May 22, 2012

An Overview of Birth Control

Birth control consists of all the means that prevent pregnancy. Doctors also call it contraception. Most people are informed about oral pills and condoms, yet, few really know that there are more numerous options than that. Normally, you should talk to the family doctor to see what you can do about birth control. Decisions depend on your health condition, your desire to protect yourself against STD (sexually transmitted diseases), your personal beliefs and preferences. Any birth control method works if used consistently and correctly, this is the number one rule to prevent disease and unwanted pregnancy.

Barrier methods of birth control

The diaphragm, the cervical cap, the contraceptive sponge and condoms are common barriers that prevent pregnancy. They block the sperm from entering the uterus, and they are used every time you have sex. The cervical cap or diaphragm needs to be custom-made according to doctor's specifications. Barriers like the sponge, the diaphragm and the cap may cause allergic reactions or increase the risk of urinary tract infections in some women.


From all pregnancy control methods, condoms are the only ones that can protect you against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. They can be used in parallel with another pregnancy control method, such as spermicides to reduce the risk of pregnancy.

Hormonal methods

Hormonal birth control involves the use of oral contraceptives, patches, hormonal shots, vaginal rings and a certain type of intrauterine device. They all release hormones into the blood stream, usually a combination of estrogen and progestin (or progestin alone).

Each birth control method has its ups and downs, and in order to use them correctly, and make a good treatment choice, you have to know the good and bad. Take condoms for instance, they can sometimes break or slip. Such incidents may or may not be prevented. Then, hormonal birth control methods are unsuitable for women who have certain health problems. They are not recommended to smokers or women over 35.

The intrauterine device can cause excessive bleeding during the period. It may also get detached and eliminated from the uterus during menstruation, without the woman noticing it. Such issues need to be brought to the woman's attention so that she knows how to properly use birth control and reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy.

Although the Internet offers tons of information, it does not answer all of your questions, nor does it clarify all the dilemmas. Always talk to a doctor!

Is There Any Relationship With Antibiotics and Birth Control?

Antibiotics and birth control don't go well together if you are using oral contraceptives. Certain antibiotics reduce the efficiency of the hormonal pills, and increase the chance of you getting pregnant. The usage instructions of the pill you're using should contain information on the drugs it interacts with, which diminish its efficiency. Moreover, when the doctor prescribes any drug treatment, no matter the health problem, you need to inform him/her that you're using oral contraceptives.

In order to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, while taking antibiotics and pregnancy control pills in parallel, you should use a supplementary contraceptive method: condoms, diaphragms or spermicides represent common alternatives. You should ask the doctor on how long you'll need to double the birth control method. Sometimes you may have to use an extra method up to a week after the discontinuation of the antibiotic, so as to make sure that the protection offered by the hormonal pill is at the optimal level.

Don't treat things lightly when it comes to antibiotics and birth control. Here is a list of the drugs known to interfere with the efficiency of oral contraceptives. However, this list is not by far exhaustive.

-amoxicilin, ampicillin, rifampin;
-tetracycline, sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim etc.

These drugs tend to act differently in combination with birth control. Sometimes, they interfere with the hormonal differences that prevent pregnancy from occurring. The estrogen levels are usually the most affected under such circumstances. Antibiotics increase the enzyme secretion at the level of the liver, and these enzymes attack the estrogen, lowering its level in the body system.

By following the correct procedures, antibiotics and birth control can be safely combined without any inconvenience. Talk to the doctor to identify the best ways to maintain the efficiency of birth control while taking antibiotics. Do not stop using the hormonal pill abruptly because that could have very serious negative effects on the body. In case the spouse is taking antibiotics, his treatment poses no risk for the efficiency of the birth control.

The entire subject of antibiotics and pregnancy control has fired a huge debate. There is much confusion about how to combine the two treatments, however, the woman should not over-analyze the situation and find problems where there are none. Body awareness allows you to determine whether something goes wrong inside, then, you can signal it to the doctor.

Otherwise you have to just make sure to use an extra barrier during intercourse. Nothing more!

What You Should Know About the Birth Control Shot

Progesterone represents the hormonal basis for the birth control shot. With this contraceptive method, an amount of progesterone is injected in the woman's upper arm or buttocks, for a three-month pregnancy prevention. Progesterone blocks the release of the eggs from the ovaries. According to statistics, the birth control shot is one of the most convenient and efficient of all contraceptive methods. Only 3 in 100 couples have an accidental pregnancy while using the shot.

The efficiency of the method depends on how correctly it is used, on existent health conditions and on the interaction with other medications. There are some side effects that you need to be aware of when it comes to the use of the pregnancy control shot:

-irregular periods or absence of periods;
-breast tenderness;
-weight gain.

Doctors warn users of the higher risks of using the pregnancy control shot on the long run. Studies have revealed that the administration of progesterone for contraceptive purposes could lead to loss of bone density. Normally, the bone density gets back to normal when you stop using the shot.

A way of fighting this inconvenience would be to use a calcium supplement on a daily basis. It is of paramount importance to stay in touch with your doctor, as well as to be honest about your health condition and lifestyle habits that might interfere with the use of hormonal birth control. For example smokers are more prone to developing side effects than non-smokers. Make sure you tell the doctor if you smoke.

The birth control shot does not work well for every individual. This is a number one issue to keep in mind when making a decision. Women who have difficulty remembering to take the pill or nursing mothers often go for the pregnancy control shot as an easy way to be safe from unwanted pregnancy. Yet, some medical or other special conditions make the birth control shot less effective or risky. This form of contraception is not recommended for women who have suffered or currently suffer from:

-various forms of cancer;
-migraine headaches;
-unexplained vaginal bleeding;
-blood clots etc.

You should talk to the doctor about whatever condition you might suffer from in order to prevent any dangerous situation that may compromise your health. There are various other contraceptive methods besides the birth control shot that can be a lot more suitable for your individual specificity. Don't ignore health matters for the sake of convenience.

Health and Fitness: Contraceptives Birth Control Article Category

Some contraceptive methods have more adverse reactions than others. Birth control side effects are thus a major issue with hormonal pills in particular, although some downsides have been reported for all kinds of birth control. It is of paramount importance for women to understand the risks they are exposing themselves to when choosing the pill. Hormonal birth control used for years on end in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies could have tremendous health implications.

In order to make your final decision, you should always weigh the pros against the cons. For the pill, there are normally two types of pregnancy control side effects you need to pay attention too.

Temporary birth control side effects

During the first month of treatment, the body adjusts to higher levels of estrogen and progesterone, and once the body gets used to these, the adverse reactions go away. Among the more common symptoms, let me mention:

-nausea (you can reduce it by taking the pill in the evening before going to bed);
-morning sickness;
-tender breast;
-bloating and loose stool;
-irregular period;
-spotting (dark-red vaginal discharges);
-hair and follicular changes;
-increased fluid retention etc.

Talk to your doctor to find out ways to reduce these pregnancy control side effects, and have your condition monitored until the symptoms go away.

Long term birth control side effects

Hormonal contraceptives have long term adverse reactions that may require a discontinuation of the pregnancy control method, and its replacement with a better tolerated one. The more common are:

-increased number of gallstones;
-susceptibility to developing cataract;
-lower immune function;
-higher risk of ectopic pregnancies when the woman tries to conceive;
-higher susceptibility towards cervical and endometrial cancers due to lack of hormonal balance.

Most birth control side effects cannot be really anticipated because it's difficult to determine the woman's response to treatment. Nobody can tell you how you're going to react during the use of hormonal pills. Condoms are the birth control methods with almost no side effects. Intolerance to latex has been the only health-related issue; however, these thin barriers could break, and that's what makes them risky for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

No matter what type of birth control you turn to, make sure you use it correctly and consistently for the optimal protection that you want. Sometimes a combination between more methods seems like the best idea. Talk to your family doctor and find out more.

What You Should Know About the Birth Control Pill

The birth control pill represents one of the most popular birth control methods, because it offers the highest protection against unwanted pregnancy. Yet, it does not protect the user against sexually transmitted diseases (STD), and it has a number of side effects.

How to use it?

You should not take any pregnancy control pill without talking to your gynecologist. The specialist will prescribe the pill that is most suitable for your health condition, age and period specificity.

The woman needs to take the birth control pill every day, preferably at the same hour, for 21 days in a row. For the last 7 days of the cycle, you won't take any pill, or you'll get an inactive one - that depends on the kind of product you are using. During the seven days off pill, you'll have your period.

Then, you need to start using the pill again after the seven-day pause, on the same day of the week as you did before.

Birth control pill side effects

This contraceptive method has quite a lot of side effects, some temporary, others long term. When you first begin using the pill, nausea, morning sickness, spotting and breasts tenderness might be an issue. But the symptoms wear off as the body gets used to the new level of hormones.

On the long run, the birth control pill may have serious side effects, which is why specialists recommend that it not be used for years on end. Among the health risks of long-term administration we ought to mention a higher risk of cervical and breast cancer, blood pressure problems, thrombosis, liver dysfunctions, benign cysts etc.

Who should NOT use the birth control pill?

Women who suffer from a chronic health condition or who have a family history of thrombosis, for instance, should not use hormonal pregnancy control methods.

The birth control pill is not recommended to women who have been treated for ovarian cysts, cancer or liver problems.

Smokers and women over 35 should not use hormonal pregnancy control either because of the higher risk of side effects.

The doctor will normally recommend blood tests and careful evaluation of your health condition to make sure that your body system is within optimal parameters. Oral contraceptives should not be prescribed otherwise because of the health hazards they pose particularly in some categories of users. In addition to the pregnancy control pill, you might want to explore your other birth control options.

Is it Safe to Use the Birth Control Ring?

The birth control ring looks like a 2-inch doughnut. It's soft and flexible so that the wearer does not even feel it when inserted in the vagina. The pregnancy control ring is a hormonal device that releases estrogen and progesterone slowly through the vagina wall into the bloodstream. The uterus and the ovaries react to these hormones in the sense that ovulation is inhibited and the lining of the uterus becomes unsuitable for the implantation of a fertilized egg.

The woman can insert the pregnancy control ring herself, and the mechanism behind it resembles that of the hormonal transdermal patch or the oral pill. This birth control method relies on the menstrual cycle. The birth control ring needs to be in place on the first day of the period or before day 5 of the menstrual cycle. And it remains inside the vagina for three weeks in a row. It will be removed on the same day of the week it was inserted, and approximately about the same time of day.

For seven days, after the third week, you don't have to use any pregnancy control, because in that interval the period will occur. At the end of seven days, a new birth control ring should be inserted, on the same day of the week and at the same hour. When you use this contraceptive method for the first time, you have to use supplementary birth control for seven days until the ring offers full protection against pregnancy.

The birth control ring is pretty comfortable to wear. It's inserted similarly to a tampon, and it does not feel inside. It does not have to be removed during intercourse, while swimming or bathing. In case you feel uncomfortable you can change the position inside the vagina or push it a bit further back. However, there are some downsides to the use of this form of birth control.

There might appear local irritation and even lesions in the wall of the vagina or in the cervix, mainly because the hormonal release changes the pH of the soft tissues allowing for harmful bacteria to proliferate. Women who use a pregnancy control ring are more exposed to yeast infections and to cervical precancerous formations. You should talk to the gynecologist to learn about the pros and cons of using this kind of contraceptive.

You might want to know what other options there are available to prevent pregnancy and stay safe from sexually transmitted diseases.

What Are the Available Male Birth Control Options

Traditionally, male birth control includes condoms and vasectomies. More recently the male contraceptive shot has been designed, and pharmaceutical companies are also studying a birth control pill for men that will hit the market in the near future. Vasectomies although reversible in theory have sometimes proved false friends. And remaining infertile for the rest of their lives seems like a risk few men would take.

This is why the shot or the pill seem a more appealing option for male pregnancy control than vasectomy. Developed by an Indian scientist, the male contraceptive injection reduces the number of sperm and disables the spermatozoa that travel through the sperm pathways. The injection contains a number of chemicals that form a gel against the pathway of the sperm. This gel can last between 10 to 15 years, and so far, in studies, this form of male birth control has proven to work 100%.

For several years now, the male pregnancy control shot has been in clinical trials in India. It is now being tested in the United States as well, as the Male Contraception Information Project in San Francisco bought the rights to the technique. The clinical trial process will be repeated in the United States until this form of male birth control will get ready for FDA approval. The sperm-stunting potential of the male birth control shot was initially considered a toxic side effect of a drug used for skin and inflammatory diseases. Taken from there, as part of lab tests and lots of experiments the medical formula sounds promising enough.

The problem with the male pregnancy control shot could be that it presents no financial potential for drug companies for the main reason that the contraceptive solution remains viable for years on end. This is probably the reason why so little progress has been made with male birth control in the Western world.

However, we should also mention the fact that such an injection is usually an option for married or stable couples who already have children or don't plan to have a baby soon. Otherwise, it does not offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Condoms are the only form of male birth control that prevents pregnancy and creates a protective barrier against various infections with sexual body entrance. Even so, the condom is not 100% safe for pregnancy or STD prevention. It has to be used correctly, consistently and carefully in order to do its purpose.