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Barrier Contraception For Non-Hormonal Birth Control

in Contraception
18 Jul 2013  |  0 Comments
 
Barrier contraceptives are experiencing a comeback as women turn their backs on synthetic hormones. more into making the most effective barrier contraceptives possible, the changeover from latex to silicone, and new natural spermicide alternatives such as ContraGel, its no wonder more women are turning to this once archaic technique as their birth control method of choice.
 
 Fertility Awareness and Barrier Contraceptives
If used in conjunction with a Fertility Awareness method where you are intimate aware of your fertility window, a barrier contraceptive must only be used for a short window of time with in the month. The rest of the time you are not fertile anyway, so no barrier is needed. Remember, you can only rely on this method if you are totally sure of your ovulation date, and you are charting you fertility correctly. Lucky, contraceptive monitors, such as Ladycomp, make fertility charting easy so you can be confident in your knowledge of when to use a barrier and when you can sex without thinking twice about contraception.
 Diaphragms
The diaphragm is shaped like a dome with a spring molded into the rim and is made of silicone or soft latex. The spring creates a seal against the walls of the vagina. As is the case with cervical caps, many women prefer silicon based diaphragms because of allergic or adverse reactions to latex.
 
 According to contraceptive technology, the method failure rate of the diaphragm used with spermicide is 6% per year.  Annual pregnancy rates of 10 to 39% of diaphragm users have also been reported.  These however vary greatly between the populations being studied.  One of the most interesting things to consider about diaphragms is that they are as equally effective for women who have given birth as they are for women who have not.  This is a characteristic unique to diaphragms when compared to other forms of cervical barriers.
 
 Using diaphragms has been known to increase the risk of contracting urinary tract infections (UTIs).  Urinating before inserting the diaphragm and also after intercourse may reduce this risk.  The increased risk of UTIs may be due to the diaphragm applying pressure to the urethra, which is common if the diaphragm is too large.  This causes irritation by preventing the bladder from emptying completely. However, the spermicide nonoxynol-9 is itself associated with an increased risk of UTI, yeast infection, and bacterial vaginosis. For this reason, some advocate the use of lactic acid based spermicides, which may have fewer side effects.
 
 For women who experience side effects from nonoxynol-9, some sources have suggested using diaphragms without spermicide.  One study reported a 24% rate of actual pregnancy per year among women using the diaphragm without spermicide.  The women in this study were not fitted individually by a clinician and were instead all given a 60mm diaphragm. There haven’t been enough studies to recommend using diaphragms without spermicide or contraceptive gel, so you should still use both products together for maximum protection. Spermicide traditionally contains Nonoxynol 9 which is known to cause irritations with many users, the Ethical Family Planning Association recommends ContraGel, a Nonoxynol 9 free contraceptive gel, especially for women who experience irritation as a result of Nonoxynol-9.
 
Diaphragms also come with the risk of experiencing toxic shock syndrome (TSS) however the actual chance of this happening is quite low.  Out of 100,000 diaphragm users, 2.4 will experience TSS.  This happens almost exclusively when the diaphragm is left inside the vagina for over 24 hours.
 
Those allergic to latex are advised against using latex diaphragms.  There are only a few non-latex diaphragms available on the market.  
The female Condom
The female condom is designed to fit all women and is suitable for all ages. It offers women and men an alternative to the male condom. Studies have shown that, if used correctly, the female condom is effective in both preventing an unplanned pregnancy and protecting against sexually transmissible infections (STIs).
The female condom is available from Family Planning Clinics, some pharmacies, supermatkets, online and sexual health clinics.
The female condom is a prelubricated sheath that fits loosely inside the vagina. It has a soft removable ring, which helps insert it and keep it in place. A large flexible ring stays on the outside, covering the opening of the vagina (vulva) and giving added protection.
The female condom can only be used once. When used correctly, it works about as well as the diaphragm, the other female barrier available in Australia. However, as with the diaphragm, getting used to inserting and using the female condom might take some practice.
Advantages of the female condom
The advantage of the female condom is that it‘s a barrier method of contraception under the woman’s control. It’s 95 per cent effective if used properly, but allowing for mistakes, is only around 79 per cent effective.
Other advantages include the following:
It decreases the risk of STIs.
It can be inserted up to eight hours before having sex.
It‘s soft and flexible, so it doesn’t hurt to insert or remove.
It’s made from polyurethane (not latex), which conducts heat, so sex can feel more sensitive and pleasurable.
It’s strong and odourless and can be used with any type of lubricant (water or oil-based).
It can be used when a woman has her period.
A male partner doesn’t have to have a full erection.
After ejaculating, a male partner doesn’t need to withdraw immediately.
Disadvantages of the female condom
Studies have found the following problems can be associated with the female condom:
It tends to hang loosely from the vagina.
It makes a rustling sound during sex.
It can be pushed up into the vagina.
The penis might enter the vagina outside the condom.
An alternative to the male condom
Research has shown a general satisfaction with the female condom from both men and women. Around 50 per cent of women and men are happy with the method, with most finding it acceptable, easy to use and comfortable. Less than 50 per cent of couples found it more acceptable than male condoms.
Some men like the female condom because it‘s not constricting and doesn’t fit tightly around the penis. Some men prefer it, as they’re unable to maintain an erection while putting on a male condom.
 
 Condoms
A condom is one of the most popular barrier devices on the market.  It is a contraceptive used during intercourse, most often by males, to avoid pregnancy.  A condom can also be used to reduce the risk of spreading or contracting sexual transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV, chlamydia and syphilis.  Condoms are placed over a man’s erect penis and act as a physical barricade, preventing ejaculated semen from entering the body of the man’s sexual partner.
 
 Some male condoms are made with materials such as polyurethane, polyisoprene or lamb intestine, but the vast majority are made from latex. If you have ethical issues with animal byproducts, or you want to avoid latex or polyurethane, check out the vegan certified condoms on the net. veganonline.com.au
 Some condoms come pre-lubricated with a small amount of Nonoxynol-9 spermicide chemical.  Consumer Reports have concluded that these spermicide-lubricated condoms don’t actually offer any additional benefits when it comes to preventing pregnancy.  They also have a shorter lifespan than regular condoms and are believed to cause urinary-tract infections in women and itching. On the other hand, applying separately packaged spermicide to condoms is believed to increase a condom’s efficiency.
 
 The failure rate of condoms varies depending on the population being studied and has been reported to be around 10-18% per year.  The pregnancy rate of condoms used perfectly is 2% per year.  For maximum protection, condoms may be used with other forms of contraception, such as spermicide or contraceptive gel.

 
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