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How Effective are Barrier and Hormonal Contraceptives at Pregnancy and STD Prevention?



We believe in informed decisions. That’s why we provide comprehensive education on pregnancy, abortion, and reproductive health options, including morning-after pills and contraceptives.


Before you decide on a type of contraception or fertility awareness method, take the time you need to research all the options, including failure rates, STD protection, miscarriage rates, and cancer risks involved.


No contraceptive method is foolproof. If you think you may be experiencing an unexpected pregnancy, make an appointment today. All services are confidential and at no cost to you.


Barrier Contraceptives


This line of contraceptives can:

· Help protect against STDs

· Stop sperm from entering the vagina


Male Condoms

Male condoms have a failure usage rate of approximately 13%. The most common types are made of latex.


Female Condoms

Can be inserted into the vagina at least eight hours before sexual intercourse. They are slightly more expensive than male condoms. When used consistently and correctly, they are 95% effective against pregnancy and STDs.


Diaphragm or Cervical cap

Made of soft silicone and is considered to be moderately effective. Diaphragms are usually more effective when they are used with a spermicide. The typical use failure rate is about 17%.


Sponge

A small donut-shaped device made of polyurethane foam that is coated with spermicide. It is usually inserted into the vagina before sexual intercourse and should be left intact for at least 6 hours after. The use failure rate of this method differs in mothers and non-mothers; it is about 27% and 14%, respectively.


Hormonal Methods


This method prevents conception by preventing the egg from being fertilized. Estrogen and progestin are typically the hormones that are involved. They usually prevent pregnancy by:

· Stopping the release of eggs

· Thickening the cervical mucus


Implant

A small flexible plastic rod is placed under the skin in the upper arm of a woman. It works by releasing the hormone progesterone into the bloodstream over a 3-year period. It is considered to be 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. It is not an option for women with certain health conditions.


Shot

With this method, progesterone is administered via injection into the arm or buttocks of women. This is normally done every 3 months. This method has a typical use failure rate of 4%.


Hormonal Vaginal Ring

The hormonal ring is a small, flexible ring that is placed into the vagina. It works by releasing the hormones estrogen and progestin over a period of time through the vaginal lining. It is usually worn for 3 weeks and then removed for one week (the week of menstruation). Surprisingly the shot has a 4% use failure rate.


Oral Contraceptives

There are two types, the combined oral pill and the progestin-only pill. The combined oral contraceptive contains the hormones progestin and estrogen, whereas the progestin-only pill contains just one hormone (progestin). For better efficacy, it is usually advised that the daily dose is taken at the same time each day. Both options have a 7% use failure rate when used consistently and correctly every time.


Patch

Can be worn on the lower abdomen, upper body (breast excluded), and buttocks. It works by releasing the hormones progestin and estrogen into the blood. A patch is usually applied once weekly and kept on for a maximum of 3 weeks. Similar to the vaginal ring, a one-week break should be allowed to allow menstruation. This method is about 99% effective, provided that it is used properly.


Note: Hormonal birth control methods are known to increase your cancer risk. While unplanned pregnancy risk is low, there is a miscarriage risk associated with both hormonal contraceptives and IUDs.


Precautions

· Barrier methods may tear or come off during sex if not used properly.

· Oral contraceptives do not protect against STDs and should be avoided in women who smoke or have a history of blood clots. They are also classified as group 1 carcinogens and can increase your cancer risk.

· The Shot may cause irregular periods and weight gain.


If you think you are pregnant or have become pregnant while on birth control, make an appointment today for free testing, ultrasound confirmation, and nurse consultation. We can confirm how far along you are, rule out an ectopic pregnancy, share all your reproductive health options and help you plan your next steps.



References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Contraception. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/index.htm.

  2. 2. Johnson A, B. (2005). Insertion and Removal of Intrauterine Devices. Am Fam Physician. 2005;71(1):95-102

  3. https://www.contraceptionjournal.org/article/S0010-7824(18)30003-9/pdf

  4. https://undergroundhealthreporter.com/fact-or-myth-are-birth-control-pills-carcinogens/#:~:text=FACT%3A%20Birth%20control%20pills%20join%20tobacco%2C%20asbestos%2C%20plutonium%2C,%E2%80%9Ca%20known%20and%20probable%20cancer-causing%20agent%20to%20humans.%E2%80%9D

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