Women's Health Tutorial

Birth Control Options (click on each to learn more about the method)

Oral Contraceptives Birth Control Patch Vaginal Sponge Male Condoms Depo-Provera® Injection Female Condoms NuvaRing® Additional Foams and Gels Dental Dams Diaphragms or Cervical Caps

Faulty Methods

Withdrawal refers to when a man takes his penis out of a woman's vagina (or "pulls out") before he ejaculates, in an attempt to stop the sperm from reaching the egg.
PROBLEMS: "Pulling out" can be hard for a man to do and it takes a lot of self-control. When you use withdrawal, you can also be at risk for getting pregnant before the man pulls out. Before a man even has an orgasm, a pre-ejaculate fluid may already be present on the tip of the penis. This fluid contains sperm that can get a woman pregnant. Withdrawal also does not protect you from STIs or HIV.

Douching is rinsing or cleaning out the vagina by squirting water or other solutions (such as vinegar, baking soda, or specialized douching solutions) into the vagina. The water or solutions are held in a bottle and squirted into the vagina through tubing and a nozzle.
PROBLEMS: Research shows that women who douche on a routine basis tend to have more problems than women who do not douche or who rarely douche. These problems include vaginal irritation, infections (called bacterial vaginosis or BV), and sexually transmitted diseases (STIs). Women who douche often are also more at risk for getting pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is an infection of a woman's pelvic organs. It is caused by bacteria, which can travel from a woman's vagina and cervix up into her pelvic organs. If left untreated, PID can lead to infertility (not being able to get pregnant) and ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus). Both BV and PID can lead to serious problems during pregnancy, such as infection in the baby, problems with labor, and early delivery. Douching does not prevent pregnancy or STIs.

Calendar Method
If practiced carefully and consistently this method can be effective for some. Keep in mind that it takes a great deal of commitment. In this method, a women tracks her menstrual cycle in order to determine "safe" (or infertile) days. She then only has intercourse during these days. * With perfect use, nine women out of 100 still become pregnant each year. PROBLEMS: Sperm can remain inside a woman's body for several days. Along with her already difficult to predict ovulation, a woman must keep track of her body temperature, vaginal mucus, and menstrual cycle to correctly predict her fertility patterns, and she must do so for several months prior to relying solely on this method. The calendar method results in many accidental pregnancies and does not protect against STIs.

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