In the US, around 65% of women in sexually active age groups rely on some kind of birth control methods annually. This includes female sterilization, oral contraceptives, male condoms and oral contraceptives that are long acting and reversible. There is considerable interest in Non-Hormonal Birth Control methods among couples who wish to avoid the use of contraceptive methods that involve estrogen and progesterone. Non-hormonal birth control methods have been in use for a very long period, with a significant percentage of couples relying on these methods. Though hormonal contraceptive methods are safe, there are certain risks that are associated with the option. This makes non-hormonal methods relatively safer, yet not as convenient as hormonal contraception. Here is a look at the non-hormonal methods that are presently available. Before we list out and explain the methods, here is a brief overview.
How safe and effective are Non-Hormonal Birth Control options?
Some of the Non-Hormonal Birth Control methods are the most effective, while some come with the possibility of having undesirable result when not used properly or if damaged. As most of these methods are categorized as barrier methods, effectiveness depends on the barrier that prevents the egg and sperm from coming together. To showcase the relative effectiveness, the most effective is the intra uterine device while spermicides are not the most effective options. The chances of a woman becoming pregnant is less than one in hundred when intra uterine devices are used, and one in four when spermicides are used for contraception. Here is a brief description of the various non-hormonal methods of contraception.
Diaphragm for Non-Hormonal Birth Control
This Non-Hormonal Birth Control option refers to a silicone cup that is blocks male sperm from entering the womb during intercourse. This is shaped like a saucer and needs to be placed in position before sex. The insertion of the diaphragm needs to be carried out in a manner so as to cover the cervix. If it is not placed in position correctly, the chances of blocking out the cervix reduce, and consequently the probability of pregnancy rises. It is therefore necessary to place the diaphragm in place correctly. The diaphragm is used in combination with strips of spermicide. This ensures that the barrier is effective, and reduces the chances of pregnancy. The effectiveness of this option for birth control is 94%, when used the right way, which includes the need to leave it in place for eight hours after the conclusion of sexual intercourse. . The diaphragm can be carried easily and is a reusable option, which makes it handy.
Cervical cap for Non-Hormonal Birth Control
This is another barrier that needs to be inserted in such a manner so as to cover the cervix. It is shaped like a hat, and is hence called a cervical cap. This Non-Hormonal Birth Control option is also used in combination with spermicide strips and works in a manner similar to the diaphragm. The advantage of these two barrier methods is more about the ability to experience sexual activity better, without the psychological effects associated with condoms. This method is fairly effective, offering 80% success rate in prevention of pregnancy, when inserted the right way. This also includes the need for the cervical cap to be left in place for almost six hours after intercourse. It can be placed in position two hours before the act of intercourse and can be left inside for one full day after the activity. It is typically not suitable for individuals whose frequency of sex is thrice a week.
Cervical cap for Non-Hormonal Birth Control
This Non-Hormonal Birth Control option refers to the use of foam in a manner that is similar to the diaphragm and cervical cap options. The sponge comes with spermicide in it, which is unlike the other two options where strips of spermicide have to be used alongside the diaphragm and cervical cap. As a birth control option, it is more suitable for women who have not given birth earlier. It offers 91% successful birth control rates among women who have not given birth earlier, and when it is used in the desired manner. However, women who have given birth earlier, will find this to be a less effective option as the successful birth control rate drops to 76% even when used in the right manner. It offers maximum sensory pleasure due to the similarities with vaginal tissue, when it comes to the feel. The foam offers protection for one full day, which means that women can use the same sponge for multiple rounds of sexual intercourse in one day without having to replace it.
Copper Intrauterine Device for Non-Hormonal Birth Control
This is regarded as one of the most effective and safe options for Non-Hormonal Birth Control. This is a T-shaped object that is placed in the uterus through a non-surgical procedure – the object is inserted through the vaginal canal. The plastic in the form of T is covered in copper and this ensures that sperm is killed and prevented from swimming and reaching the egg through the vagina. The prevention of the fertilized egg from attaching itself to the womb helps in birth control and this method has the highest success rate with more than 99% effectiveness. The advantage of this method is nil effect no sensory pleasure and the device can be left in place for as long as ten years. Therefore, the option gives protection for a very long period and it can also be reversed by the removal of the device, permitting women to become pregnant when desired.
Spermicide for Non-Hormonal Birth Control
This Non-Hormonal Birth Control option is a chemical substance that is inserted in the vagina prior to sexual intercourse. The chemical paralyzes and kills sperm, and this prevents pregnancy. It is available as a gel, as foam and is part of various combinations of birth control methods. It is also available in concentrated form commonly known as suppository. This is inserted into the vagina and melts into a foam following which it works as a chemical barrier to sperm and prevents pregnancies. The effectiveness of suppositories increases when it is inserted as close as possible to the cervix. Spermicide is fairly effective and offers a success rate of 72% when used correctly. Its effectiveness increases manifold when combined with other barrier options.The spermicide needs to be left inside the vagina for eight hours after the act of sexual intercourse.
Female condom for Non-Hormonal Birth Control
This Non-Hormonal Birth Control option refers to the use of a lubricated latex tube that is inserted in the vagina. It is the female equivalent of the male condom. This is designed with flexible rings on either ends, intended to prevent sperm from entering the egg. This barrier method ensures that pregnancy does not occur. It offers a birth control success rate of 80% and similar to the male condom, a fresh one needs to be used every time couples indulge in sexual intercourse. In addition to prevention of pregnancy, this barrier method is considered as the safest when it comes to prevention from sexually transmitted diseases including HIV. The main reason for lesser popularity of condoms – either male of female – is the perceived lack of sensory pleasure that many assume. This is despite that fact that condoms are extra thin, and fully lubricated which are intended to extend and maximize sensory pleasure.
When are Non-Hormonal Birth Control options suitable?
Non-Hormonal Birth Control options are suitable for couples who do not indulge in sexual intercourse very frequently. Couples who frequently slip between the sheets will find it a bit cumbersome to use these methods when they find themselves in a sudden rush of passion. Hormonal birth control options are often linked to cultural or religious beliefs, and coupes who do not intend to disturb their natural cycles will find non-hormonal methods most convenient. Similarly, couples who need a foolproof method to prevent pregnancy will find the combination of hormonal and non-hormonal options to be a safe bet. There are certain disadvantages associated with non-hormonal options. For instance, barring male and female condoms, none of the methods offer protection against STDs or UTIs, while chemicals in spermicide may trigger allergies in a limited number of women. In the case of intrauterine devices, there is the possibility of bleeding between periods in a limited number of cases, and some women are known to experience mild discomfort or cramping.