Contraception is necessary, so that you can enjoy your sex life without the risk or fear of becoming pregnant. Your sex life should be free from insecurity and stress regarding the impending hazards of becoming pregnant. There are two basic methods of contraception: Mechanical Barriers of Contraception and Chemical Barriers of Contraception. These barriers can be used to prevent not only pregnancy, but also to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Various barrier methods of contraception have been frequently used throughout history. These barrier methods prevent the entering of sperm into the uterus. The only male mechanical barrier that is practically in use is condoms, whereas there are various methods of barrier contraception available for women that include diaphragm, female condom, intrauterine devices and cervical caps. Chemical barriers of contraception are also widely available which include spermicides.
What Is The Difference Between Mechanical Contraception And Chemical Contraception?
Mechanical barriers are devices that provide physical barrier between sperms and eggs. Mechanical barriers include male condoms, diaphragm, cervical cap, sponge and female condom. The condoms are the only device that provides protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
Chemical barriers are also known as spermicides, which basically are chemicals that kill the sperms and prevent pregnancy. Spermicides are available in the form of foams, gels, films or suppositories that are used in association with mechanical barriers. These spermicides can be available without a prescription or any doctor consultation.
Ways of Mechanical Contraception?
The male condom is perhaps the most widely used way of mechanical contraception and is available widely. Male condom has been used and considered as the only methods of contraception in various nations. This way of mechanical contraception is hence of great importance. The male condom is a covering made out of latex film that fits on a man’s erect penis. Male condom is a sort of a rubber sheath that is available in various forms and under various brands in the market. The mechanism of this mechanical contraception is to provide a barrier between the partners during intercourse, mainly so that the vaginal fluids and the semen do not mix. Since there is no blood transfusion or mixing of the bodily fluid, pregnancy as well as reproductive tract infections like HIV, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases are prevented. Some male condoms come coated with lubrication or with a layer of spermicides.
Effectiveness of Male Condom: Male Condoms are one of the most important and effective method of preventing pregnancy, if it is used correctly and consistently. The rate of pregnancy for couples who use condoms every time during coitus has been found to be 3%. As stated before, condoms are also very effective against the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
Male Condom Failures: It should not be considered that all men are adept at using condoms. The biggest hazards of using condoms are that condoms may fail as they may break or slip during intercourse. In order to prevent the condom from breakage while having intercourse is to make sure that sufficient lubrication is available during the entire process. In order to make sure that the male condom does not slip off during sex, the user should make it sure that the rim of the condom stays near the lower end of the penis at all times.
Advantages of Male Condom: The male condom is the surest method of prevention of pregnancy, which is its biggest benefit. On the other hand, condoms also provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis, HIV or AIDS. Male condoms also do not have any side effects. Besides, men at all ages can use condoms.
Disadvantages of Male Condoms: Though male condoms are extremely reliable, women have to rely on their male partners for their cooperation. Some people also find it embarrassing to buy condoms from the shop. Latex condoms may occasionally cause itching and irritability. The biggest disadvantage, however, is that condoms may break during intercourse that makes them unreliable sometimes.
The female condom is a loose and flexible plastic tube that can be inserted into the vagina during intercourse. The female condom has an inner and an outer ring. A relatively soft ring at the closed end covers the cervix during intercourse. The other ring at the opening of the tube stays outside and partly covers the labia. The female condoms protect the performing individuals against pregnancy and other sexually transmitted diseases. Like the male condom, female condoms also provide a barrier between the male and the female which prevents them from sharing their bodily fluids. This is primarily how it ensures protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Advantages of Female Condom: While male erection is absolutely a necessity while using a male condom, it is not necessary when using a female condom. Female condoms also do not decrease the stimulation provided by the other partner during intercourse. Female condoms can be readily used by those people who are sensitive towards latex. Because, unlike the male condom, which is primarily made of latex, the female condom is a mechanical contraception which is made up of plastic which and is a rare cause for irritability or infections.
Disadvantages of Female Condoms: Female condoms are very effective as a method of contraception; however, they produce a sound during intercourse, which might be considered disturbing. Many women find it difficult to use this way of mechanical contraception in relation to how it is to be inserted. It is actually quite difficult to insert female condoms in the first few attempts. The female condom, like the male condom, may also break during intercourse or even leak. The male condom is relatively cheaper and far more widely popular than the female condom, which is costlier.
The diaphragm is a tiny dome-shaped cup made up of latex that has flexible rings and can cover the cervix. This cup is basically a physical barrier that prevents the entry of sperms into the uterus and prevents pregnancy. The diaphragm is used in association with spermicides.
Effectiveness of Diaphragm: Diaphragm as a way of mechanical contraception is not as reliable as the male condoms are. The failure rate of diaphragm is as high as 16% on the first year of use. It is, however, considered as a more convenient choice for women whose health conditions prevent them from using or taking other contraception methods because of hormonal problems.
Advantages of the Diaphragm: The diaphragm is so tiny that it can be travelled with in a small purse. The diaphragm, unlike other mechanical contraceptives, can be worn and inserted two hours prior to intercourse and has no detrimental effects on the woman. The diaphragm is so tiny that it can hardly be felt by either of the partners during the intercourse. The diaphragm also does not have any bad influence on the woman’s health, as it causes no hormonal imbalance at all.
Disadvantages of the Diaphragm: The most common complication of using this mechanical contraception is that some women find it quite a hassle to insert the device into their vagina every time they need to have intercourse, because it is a troublesome process and not at all convenient. Diaphragm is also quite difficult to attain mastery over the process of insertion and removal of the diaphragm and hence most women are easily discouraged from using this mechanical contraception. Like the condoms, the diaphragm can also be dislodged from its initial position, which is quite a hazard as it may lead to pregnancy and may provide no protection at all. This is the reason why the failure rate of this contraceptive device is so high. The biggest disadvantage of diaphragms is that they do not protect one against any kind of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, AIDS, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and this is the reason it is considered to be quite a weak method of mechanical contraception of pregnancy. Some women who have used diaphragms as contraception against pregnancy have also reported that it is quite hazardous because they suffered from urinary tract infections and vaginal infections when using a diaphragm during intercourse.
The cervical cap, which is also known as Femcap, is a latex cap that is shaped like a thimble. This mechanical contraception is almost like a diaphragm, but is way smaller. The FemCap has to be used with a spermicide. The cervical cap has to remain inside the vagina for at least 6 hours after having intercourse. However, the cervical cap has to be taken in about 48 hours after intercourse. The diaphragm may at times cause cystitis, which is a bladder infection, which is the reason the diaphragm is sometimes not preferred. The cervical cap, hence, is basically a better and more improved version of the diaphragm because it has less contact with the vagina as it only covers the cervix and causes no such hazards like bladder infections or infections in the vagina. The only problem with this way of contraception is that the failure rate is quite high and the rate of it being effective is only around 92% to 95%. Like diaphragm, the cervical cap also provides no protection against any sort of sexually transmitted diseases.
Intrauterine Devices (IUD)
There are two kinds of intrauterine devices from which women can choose from. The first one is the hormonal IUD; and the second one is the copper based IUD. Hormonal IUD, as well as its copper variant, are both mechanical contraception devices that provide long term prevention against pregnancy. These ways of mechanical contraception can be kept inside the vagina for around 5 to 10 years without any hassle of insertion or removal every time before or after intercourse. The IUDs are one of the most effective methods of mechanical contraception. Their effectiveness rate is as high as 99%. The only underlying problem with IUDs is that they cannot provide protection against any of the sexually transmitted diseases. The IUDs can also be used as a form of emergency contraception during intercourse. The process of insertion of the IUD needs special personnel like a doctor who can professionally insert the IUD inside the vagina.
The contraceptive implant also provides with long term solution against pregnancy. This way of mechanical contraception lasts for over a period of 3 years on an average. However, like the IUD, this contraceptive implant also does not protect against any sexually transmitted diseases. The contraceptive implant contains progesterone, which is the same hormone that is present in contraceptive pills. Basically, the hormone is released into the body of the female in a slow and steady rate and produces the exact same effect as that of the pill. The effectiveness of this contraceptive implant against pregnancy is as high as 99.9%. The insertion of this mechanical contraception implant requires medical supervision.
Contraceptive sponge is a less popular method of mechanical contraception. This way of mechanical contraception consists of a small, round-shaped piece of polyurethane foam that is inserted inside the depth of the vagina. The foam contains spermicides and blocks the passage of the sperm from entering into the uterus. The sponge has to be left inside the vagina at least after 6 hours from the time of the intercourse. The sponge then needs to be removed from the vagina in less than 24 hours of the sex in order to avoid any risks of toxic shock. The mode of mechanical contraception provides no protection after the lapse of the 24 hours. The sponge, unlike condoms, cannot provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases and is mostly used as a replacement or secondary solution or as a backup against other prevalent methods of protection against pregnancy. Contraceptive sponge can also be bought from regular pharmacies and does not require any prescription.
Without the use of a contraceptive, more than 80% of all women will become pregnant. When in the teenage years, women are very fertile and it is impossible to not get pregnant post-intercourse. This is the reason why it is very important to use contraception. Abstinence is the only way you can 100% sure that you have not become pregnant, because even the above mentioned mechanical contraception methods are effective, no contraception can provide 100% guarantee. It is just not only about preventing pregnancy; contraception should also be used to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. In case of any doubts, you should always contact a doctor.