Nine astonishing truths about birth control
This article was originally published in 2019 and has since been updated.
A considerable number of women who have reached childbearing age, at any given time, are taking oral contraceptives. This would make it the most popular pregnancy-proofing method around. A ground-breaking drug in its own right, the Pill isn’t the only contraceptive for use by healthy women who simply want to take charge of their sexual health. Get excited as we give you 9 facts that you didn’t know about birth control.
Birth control hasn’t been proven to affect sex drive
There’s a misconception surrounding hormonal based methods, like the pill and the ring, which states that they may lower your libido. However, there are no studies which support any of these claims. Simply put, there is no link between hormonal birth control and sex drive.
Current studies don’t show any significant increase or decrease in sex drive between women taking these contraceptives and those who don’t.
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are the most effective form of birth control
While it’s fair to say this may not be the most common form of birth control in South Africa, the IUD is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy. The intrauterine device is a T-shaped object your doctor inserts into the uterus – it can be either a copper IUD or hormone-based one. Since they are operational for a number of years, it’s a worry-free way to prevent pregnancy.
There is only one birth control method that protects against STIs
Condoms are the only form of contraception that safeguards you against getting HIV and STIs. To practice safe sex, you must use condoms every time you have sex, even if you’re using another form of birth control. The female condom (internal condom) is also known for increased sexual pleasure by way of clitoral stimulation.
The Pill is the most common form of birth control for women
When it comes to contraceptive users, women are most likely to use the birth control pill, with a large number of contraceptive users rely on it to prevent pregnancy. While oral contraceptives are the most commonly used form of birth control, IUDs remain the most effective.
There are safe options for permanent birth control
When you make the decision to not have any children or if you plan on not having any more, there are permanent measures you can take. Tubal ligation – commonly referred to as having your tubes tied – involves surgically blocking your fallopian tubes. This prevents your egg from traveling from the ovaries to the fallopian tubes and also works to block sperm from traveling up the fallopian tubes, essentially stopping fertilization.
About half of unintended pregnancies occur due to birth control error.
A large number of pregnancies are unintended, and some of the women who face this predicament, were using some type of birth control. Not being able to use contraceptives properly or consistently is considered user error. Taking your pill at a different time, which looks like an inconsequential event, can cause it to malfunction. It’s important to stay consistent and follow directions of use to avoid birth control mistakes.
Experts are working on hormonal birth control for men.
In recent years, research teams have made significant strides toward developing a male hormonal birth control option and bring it to the market. A recently published study reported that the shot worked for 96% of the over 300 healthy men who participated. The hormonal shot is injected every eight weeks and suppresses sperm production by sending signals to the body that it already has enough.
The bottom line is that if you’ve started menstruating and you’re sexually active, you should be practicing safe sex and using birth control, no matter your age. Sex is much more enjoyable when its safer.
If you need advice on contraceptive methods to help you find the best one to suit your lifestyle, find your nearest Marie Stopes centre now or book an appointment online – it’s quick, easy and totally confidential.
Source: Marie Stopes South Africa (Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Family Planning)
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