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Birth Control Comparison
What is it?: 6 small plastic rods containing progestin that
are implanted in the upper arm.
How does it work?: The rods are inserted in a fan like pattern
and slowly releases progestin, which prevents ovulation and prevents
the uterus wall from being able to accept a fertilized egg.
Advantages: Implants last for five years, human error in
misuse of contraceptive is eliminated, fertility is immediate after
implants are removed, menstrual cramps decrease and menstruation
is lighter, easily reversible, allows for spontaneous sexual activity.
Disadvantages: requires minor surgery, quite expensive, bleeding
and spotting during first year, possibility of irregular periods,
possible weight gain, may cause acne, may be visible or may cause
scarring in the arm at site of implant, removal may be costly.
Method: Intrauterine Device (IUD)
What is it?: A small plastic or copper device inserted into
the uterus by a physician.
How does it work?: The full effects of the IUD are still
not completely understood, but it is thought that the copper that
some IUD's have impedes the movement of the sperm in the uterus,
preventing fertilization. There are also some IUD's that contain
progesterone , thereby interfering with ovulation and thickening
of the uterine walls. The copper IUD's can have a life of up to
10 years, while the ones that release progesterone must be replaced
Effectiveness: 97-99% effectiveness.
Advantages: effective immediately, no chance of forgetting
a pill, lasts a long time, allows for spontaneous sexual activity.
Disadvantages: periods become longer and heavier and cramps
worsen, spotting between periods, body may expel the device, risk
of developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), increased risk
of vaginal infections, must be inserted by a health care professional.
What is it?: A soft rubber dome like object supported by
a spring that fits over the cervix and is held in place by the vaginal
How does it work?: The diaphragm must be filled with spermicidal
cream or jelly and in combination therefore creates both a physical
and chemical barrier, stopping and killing any sperm that attempt
to enter the cervix. The diaphragm must be inserted up to 2 hours
before intercourse and must be left in for at least 6 hours afterwards,
and additional spermicidal jelly or cream must be added without
removing the diaphragm before having repeated intercourse. Your
doctor must fit you for the correct size.
Effectiveness: 85-90% effective.
Advantages: No interference with the body's hormones, resulting
in no real side effects, does not affect fertility, spermicidal
jelly acts as lubricant.
Disadvantages: Some men and women have allergic reactions
to the latex of the diaphragm, can be messy, does not allow for
spontaneous sexual activity, increased risk of bladder infection.
Method: The Cervical Cap
What is it?: Similar to the diaphragm, the cervical cap is
made out of latex and fits snugly over the cervix.
How does it work?: Your physician must fit you for a cervical
cap, which is best used with a spermicide and fits over your cervix
to provide a physical barrier to prevent sperm from entering the
cervix and uterus. It may be left in for up to 2 days.
Effectiveness: 80-90% effective
Advantages: Does not interfere with your body's natural hormones,
does not affect fertility, allows for somewhat spontaneous sexual
Disadvantages: May become dislodged during intercourse, can
be messy, may be difficult to insert, possible latex reaction may