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Birth Control

What is Birth Control?

Birth control is a term used for products that help prevent pregnancy. The risks and benefits of different forms of birth control are different for each person. It is best to decide with your doctor which form of birth control is best for you.

Most types of birth control does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

Types of Birth Control

There are many different types of birth control. The most common types designed for women are:

  • Abstaining from sexual intercourse.
  • Condoms
  • Birth control pills
    • You need a doctor's prescription to get birth control pills.
    • There are two types of birth control pills: "combined oral contraceptives" and "minipills."
    • Combined oral contraceptives have a combination of two hormones--estrogen and progestin. They work by keeping the ovaries from releasing an egg. Combined oral contraceptives must be taken every day.
    • Minipills contain only one hormone, progestin. They work by thickening the cervical mucus to keep sperm from reaching the egg. Sometimes they also keep the ovaries from releasing an egg. You must take one pill every day. Minipills are slightly less effective than combined oral contraceptives.
    • Birth control pills are also called oral contraceptives
  • Injections
  • Implants
  • IUDs
    • An IUD is inserted into the womb by a doctor. Two types of IUDs are now used in the United States: the Paragard Copper T 380A, which releases copper, and the Progestasert Progesterone T, which releases progesterone, a form of progestin. The Paragard IUD can stay in place for 10 years. The Progestasert must be replaced every year. A doctor must remove it.
    • IUD means Intrauterine Device.
  • Sterilization
    • Sterilization is a surgical procedure that involves tying, cutting or blocking the fallopian tubes so eggs can't reach the womb.
  • Cervical cap
  • Norplant
    • Norplant is a form of progestin that is placed under the skin. Norplant is made of rubber rods that look like matchsticks. A doctor places the rods under the skin of the woman's upper arm, where they slowly release progestin. A doctor must also remove the rods. There are two types of Norplant. The six-rod Norplant gives birth control for up to five years. The two-rod Norplant gives birth control for up to two years.
  • Female condom
    • The Reality Female Condom is made of polyurethane. You can buy female condoms at drugstores without a prescription.
  • Diaphragms with spermicide
    • Spermicides are available without a prescription in drugstores. They contain a chemical that kills sperm. Spermicides are sold in several forms including foam, cream and jelly.

The most common type of birth control designed for men is a latex condom and a vasectomy.

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