While most women worldwide still consider the contraceptive pill and other hormonal methods a secure, practical and effective form of protection against pregnancy, more and more claim not wanting to have their weight, sex drive, period or mood altered. In other words, even though medical science has significantly evolved (for instance, the pill now contains more than three times less synthetic hormones than when it was first licenced in the US back in 1960), hormonal birth control is still not the way to go for many women. They want to avoid hormones, do not want to deal with either real or perceived side effects, have health concerns, or are breastfeeding. Whatever the case, one thing is for sure: in 2021, hormone-free contraceptive options are on the rise.
As you may well know, non-hormonal methods are not limited to fertility awareness, withdrawal or abstinence. There are actually many reasonably reliable, hormone free and non-invasive options to take into consideration. Like even a new non hormonal birth control gel!
Still, several aspects are to be considered when deciding on which method of contraception is right for you. So if you feel like “non hormonal” is your way to go, visit trustable sites such as findmymethod.org for more information, and please go to your GP or local contraceptive or family planning clinic to better discuss your choices. Also: remember that the only way to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections and diseases (STIs/STDs) is to use a condom every time you have sex.
“On the spot” solutions
External condom: is slipped on the penis and protects even against HIV. It does not require a prescription and is easy to get (inexpensive or even distributed for free in most public hospitals and healthcare centres). When used properly, 98 out of 100 times it works as a charm to prevent pregnancy. But most people do not use it perfectly. In that case, only 82 of every 100 individuals will manage to avoid pregnancy. Side effects are usually none, but be aware of latex or spermicide allergies.
Internal condom: this method gives women more control and is a good option when dealing with latex allergies. If used properly, it prevents pregnancy for 95 out of 100 individuals. When not used perfectly, the number decreases to only 79. You can expect more effectiveness when combined with spermicide. Side effects are not common, but it could cause a little irritation for some.
Cervical cap: can be inserted up to 6 hours before sex, is immediately effective and usually causes no side effects (although some people might experience irritation or discomfort). Still, it is not one of the most trustful methods (only 71 to 86 individuals of every 100 manage to prevent pregnancy using it) and works best when combined with a spermicide.
Sponge: it usually requires no prescription and you can insert it up to 24 hours before sex. But it is not the most effective method, especially if you have already gone through labour. Typically, only 76 to 88 out of 100 individuals manage to prevent pregnancy using the sponge. Side effects may include irritation.
Diaphragm: effective immediately, it can be put in hours before sex and left in for a whole day. Ideally, it is considered fairly effective, as up to 94 in every 100 women could prevent pregnancy with it. But in the way most people use it, we are talking no more than 88 out of 100. It works better with spermicide and, although not common, irritation and urinary tract infections are possible side effects.
Spermicide: it is easy to find and no prescription is required. Also, side effects should be minor (some irritation, maybe) or none. But the downside is that it is usually not very good on its own and works best when paired with another barrier method. Only 72 to 82 individuals manage to prevent pregnancy when using this method.
The long lasting ones
Non hormonal IUD: very easy to hide, this small plastic and copper device that’s put into the uterus is actually one of the most effective (99 out of every 100 individuals using it will manage to prevent pregnancy) and long lasting methods (up to years, actually!). The downside? Increased blood flow and cramping are possible side effects.
Sterilization: applicable for male and female bodies, it is a permanent (and great) solution for those who know they do not want any pregnancies in the future. Its effectiveness is really high: 99 of every 100 individuals will successfully prevent a pregnancy with this method. Some pain or discomfort may be experienced right after the procedure. But once you have it done, it works for a lifetime. Unless you have a male body and don’t want it to, as in those cases this procedure is reversible.
Author Bio:- Michell Mor, eHealth Content Specialist at Women First Digital, an organization helping women about contraception and sexual health.