Contraception refers to any medical method or treatment designed to prevent pregnancy. Contraception is available in both short-term and long-term varieties. Contraception is often referred to as simply birth control.
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What is Contraception?
Contraception is the broad term that encompasses all birth control methods. Birth control is a crucial part of family planning and practicing safe sex. Some methods of birth control also guard against sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), but this is not true of every method.
In general, contraception is broken down in to three major categories:
- Short term contraception, which is utilized just once and may be ceased at any point.
- Long term contraception, which may last for a very long time and require extra attention to reverse.
- Emergency contraception, which is taken or administered after unprotected or poorly-protected sex.
Each one of these broad categories contains many different types of birth control.
Types of Contraceptives
There are many different types of contraceptives. Both contraceptives for men and contraceptives for women are available. Varieties of contraceptives include:
- Hormonal birth control: As the name implies hormonal contraceptives work by altering the body's hormones in order to prevent ovulation or fertilization. Hormonal birth control is only available for women and may be administered as a pill, patch, implant, injection IUD or vaginal ring.
- Barrier contraceptives: Barrier contraceptives are available for both men and woman. They act as a literal barrier between sperm and uterus, preventing pregnancy from occurring. Types of barrier birth control include condoms, sponges, cervical caps, diaphragms and more.
- Intrauterine devices (IUDs): This type of birth control is inserted directly in to the uterus. IUDs may be made out of copper or levonorgestrel. IUDs are a very long-lasting form of birth control, but are also reversible.
- Sterilization: Sterilization is a surgical birth control option. It is available for both men (vasectomy) and women (tubal ligation). Sterilization is considered to be the most permanent form of contraception, though it may be reversed in very rare cases as well.
What Form of Contraception is Right for Me?
There is no one “correct” method of birth control, as each type features distinct advantages and disadvantages. Some prefer the long-term protection of an IUD or sterilization, while others opt for convenience with hormonal or barrier methods.
There are so many different varieties of birth control that it's important to discuss them with a physician or healthcare professional. Only then can you determine which type of contraception best suits your level of sexual activity and person needs.
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Contraception can be confusing to understand on your own. For a discreet, informative contraception consultation call (718) 743-0505 or contact us online.