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ABC's of Contraceptives

Updated on 10/5/2011 01:08:45 PM

Method Cost Effectiveness Side Effects Presc?
*Abstinence Free 100% None No
*Depo-Provera  $20-40 visit to clinician
$30-75/injection
97-99.7% Irregular bleeding; Headache; Nausea; Dizziness; Sore breasts; Weight gain Yes
*Condom 12pck $11 85-98% Latex allergies; Breakage No
Female condom 5pck $14 79-95% May be noisy; May be hard to insert; May slip during intercourse No
Spermicide  $8.00 71-85% May irritate sex organs; Can be messy No
Sponge 3pck $9 68-91% May irritate sex organs; Can be messy; May be difficult to remove; Cannot be used during vaginal bleeding No
IUD 
(Intrauterine Device)
$175-500/exam, insertion, and follow-up visit 99.2-99.9% Increased cramps and heavier periods; Spotting between periods; Increase chance of tubal infection leading to infertility; If pregnancy occurs it is more likely to be ectopic Yes
Diaphragm $15-75/diaphragm
$50-200/exam
84-94% Increased risk of bladder infection; Should not be left in place for more than 24hrs Yes
Cap  $15-75/cap
$50-200/exam
71-86% Difficult for some women to use; Should not be left in place for longer than 48hrs Yes
Shield  $15-75/shield
$50-200/exam
85% Difficult for some women to use; May cause discomfort for some women or their partners; Should not be left in place for longer than 48hrs Yes
*The Pill $20-35/monthly pill-pack
$30-175/exam
92-99.7% Possible health risks, blood clots, heart attack, and stroke; Women over 35 and those who smoke are at increased risks; Other side effects include change
in sex drive and temporary irregular bleeding, weight gain or loss, breast tenderness, nausea; Rarely-vomiting, changes in mood, and other discomforts; Must be taken daily
Yes
NuvaRing  $10-35/month supply of rings
$35-175/exam
92 - 99.70% Increased vaginal discharges; Vaginal irritation or infection; Cannot use a diaphragm, cap,shield for a backup method of birth control; Rare but serious health risks including blood clots, heart attacks, and stroke; Women over 35 and those who smoke are at greater risks; Other side effects include change in sex drive and temporary irregular bleeding, weight gain or loss, breast tenderness, nausea; Rarely-vomiting, changes in mood, and other discomforts Yes
*Patch 
(Ortho Evra)
$30-40/ monthly supplies
$35-175/exam
92 - 99.70% Skin reaction at the site of application; Menstrual cramps; May not be as effective for women who weigh more than 198 pounds; Other side effects include change in sex drive and temporary irregular bleeding, weight gain or loss, breast tenderness, nausea; Rarely-vomiting, changes in mood, and other discomforts Yes
Emergency Contraception $8-$240 75-89% Your period may start sooner or later than usual; Your period may be heavier or lighter than normal; Some people feel sick to their stomachs for the first 24 hours; Breast tenderness, dizziness and headaches are common symptoms

Maybe

If you are under 17, you will need a prescription.

If you are 17 or older, you can get emergency contraception from a pharmacy without a prescription.

*Contraceptives most used by teens


Abstinence - Continuous abstinence is not having oral, vaginal, or anal intercourse with a partner at all.

Advantages:
- Has no medical or hormonal side effects
- No cost and no prescription needed
- 100% effective against pregnancy

Challenges:
- May lack support from others
- May experience temptations

Depo-Provera - is a shot that your clinician will give you every 12 weeks.

Advantages:
- 97-99.7% effectiveness
- Effective for 12 weeks
- No pill to take daily

Challenges:
- Irregular bleeding
- Headaches
- Nausea
- Dizziness
- Sore breasts
- Must receive injection every three months
- Need a prescription
- Loss of monthly period, change of appetite, weight gain, depression, hair loss, or increased hair on the face or body, nervousness, skin rash or spotty darkening of the skin, change in sex drive

The condom - is a latex covering for the penis. To use you cover the penis with a condom (sheath made of thin latex or plastic) before intercourse to keep sperm from joining egg.

Advantages:
- Can be bought in a drug or grocery store
- Low cost
- No prescription needed
- No hormonal side effects
- 85-98% effective

Challenges:
- Latex allergies
- Breakage

The female condom - is a polyurethane (plastic) pouch with flexible rings on each side. It prevents semen from entering the vagina and reaching the egg.

Advantages:
- Can be bought in a drug or grocery store
- Low cost
- No prescription needed
- No hormonal side effects
- 79-95% effective
-Offers protection against STDS
-Good for people with latex allergies
-Can be used with oil- or water-based lubricants

Challenges:
- May be noisy
- May be hard to insert
- May slip during intercourse

Spermicide - comes in the following forms - contraceptive foam, cream, jelly, film, or suppository. To use spermicide you insert it into the vagina shortly before intercourse. This method is most effective when used with a male condom.

**Using the spermicide nonoxynol-9 many times a day, by people at risk for HIV or for anal sex, may irritate tissue and increase the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Advantages:
- 71-85% effectiveness
- Low cost
- No need for a prescription
- Can be bought in a drug or grocery store

Challenges:
- May irritate sex organs
- Can be messy

The sponge is made of solid polyurethane foam that is soft, round and contains spermicide. It is inserted into the vagina before intercourse and prevents the sperm from entering the cervix.

Advantages:
- Low cost
- No need for a prescription
- 68-91% effectiveness
- The sponge does not interrupt sex play - it can be inserted hours ahead of time
- Can be bought in a drug store or grocery store

Challenges:
- May irritate sex organs
- Can be messy
- May be difficult to remove
- Cannot be used during vaginal bleeding

IUD (Intrauterine Device) - is a small plastic device inserted by your physician. There are 2 types of IUDs. One made of cooper and left in place for 12 years, and one that slowly releases hormones over a 5 years period.

Advantages:
- Nothing to put in place before intercourse
- 99.2-99.9% effectiveness
- Can be left in place for 5-12 years depending on the kind inserted
- No pill to take daily

Challenges:
- Increased cramps and heavier periods
- Spotting between periods
- Increased chance of tubal infection leading to infertility
- If pregnancy occurs it is more likely to be ectopic

A Diaphragm - is a shallow latex cup that will be fitted by your physician.

Advantages:
- No hormonal side effects
- No health concerns
- 84-94% effectiveness

Challenges:
- Increased risk of bladder infection
- Should not be left in place for more than 24 hours
- Need a prescription

The Cap - is a silicone cup shaped like a hat that will be fitted by your physician.

Advantages:
- 71-86% effectiveness
- No health concerns
- No hormonal side effects

Challenges:
- Difficult for some to use
- Should not be left in place longer than 48 hours
- Need a prescription

The Shield - is a silicone cup that your physician will fit you for that covers your cervix.

Advantages:
- 85% effectiveness
- No hormonal side effects
- No health concerns

Challenges:
- Can be hard for some to use
- May cause some discomfort for women and their partner
- Should not be left in place for longer than 48 hours

The Pill - uses hormones to prevent pregnancy. Your physician will prescribe the best one for you. The pill needs to be taken daily.

Advantages:
- 92-99.7% effectiveness
- Nothing needs to be inserted before intercourse
- Can help period to be more regular and shorter
- Can lessen menstrual flow, cramping and symptoms of PMS

Challenges:
- Possible health risks, blood clots, heart attack, and stroke-women over 35 and those who smoke are at increased risks
- Other side effects include change in sex drive and temporary irregular bleeding, weight gain or loss, breast tenderness, nausea
- Rarely-vomiting, changes in mood, and other discomforts
- Must be taken daily
- Need a prescription

The NuvaRing - is a small flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina for three weeks and removed for the fourth week. The NuvaRing uses hormones to prevent pregnancy.

Advantages:
- There is nothing to be taken daily
- Protects against pregnancy for 1 month
- 92 - 99.7% effectiveness
- You do not need to be fitted by a physician
- Nothing needs to be inserted before intercourse
- Can help period to be more regular and shorter
- Can lessen menstrual flow, cramping and symptoms of PMS

Challenges:
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Vaginal irritation or infection may occurs
- Possible health risks, blood clots, heart attack, and stroke-women over 35 and those who smoke are at increased risks
- Other side effects include change in sex drive and temporary irregular bleeding, weight gain or loss, breast tenderness, nausea
- Rarely-vomiting, changes in mood, and other discomforts
- Cannot be used with Diaphragm, Cap or the Shield

The Patch (Ortho Evra) - is a patch applied to the skin and left on for 3 weeks and removed for the fourth week. It is hormone based product that reduces risk of pregnancy.

Advantages:
- Protects against pregnancy for 1 month
- 92 - 99.7% effectiveness
- There is no pill to take daily
- There is nothing to insert before intercourse

Challenges:
- Skin irritation where applied
- Increased menstrual cramps
- May not be as effective in women weighing over 198 pounds
- Other side effects include change in sex drive and temporary irregular bleeding, weight gain or loss, breast tenderness, nausea
- Rarely-vomiting, changes in mood, and other discomforts

Emergency contraception (i.e. Plan B, Plan B One Step or Next Choice) is a pill or pills that can be taken to prevent pregnancy.  The pill or pills work by preventing ovulation or fertilization of the egg.  They do not affect an established pregnancy.

If you are under 17, you will need a prescription. If you are 17 or older, you can get emergency contraception from a pharmacy without a prescription.

Advantages:
- The pills can be started up to 120 hours after unprotected sex
- 81-90% effective if first pill is taken within 72 hours

Challenges:
- Your period may start sooner or later than usual
- Your period may be heavier or lighter than normal
- Some people feel sick to their stomachs for the first 24 hours
- Breast tenderness, dizziness and headaches are common symptoms