Hi, my name is Camryn and I will be writing this week’s blog post about different kinds of contraception. I’ve listed out three examples of contraception that are possible for anyone to use on their own terms, such as the internal and external condom, spermicide, and the vaginal ring. But before we get into these examples, what is contraception? Contraception is the purposeful prevention of pregnancy, also known as birth control. When we teenagers think of contraception, the first thing that comes to our mind is “abstinence is key” and the external condom, because that’s what we’re taught in school. Since most of us haven’t received proper sexual health education in school, we’ve been left to figure out information on birth control methods on our own.
These four types of contraception are very different in terms of how to access them, how they work to prevent pregnancy, and how you use them. They may seem completely unrelated and on different ends of the contraception spectrum, but I’m writing about the internal condom, spermicide, and the vaginal ring since they may not be as well known. As teenagers, we also might not know about different options that we have. It’s important for us to understand what options we have to be safe with a partner, especially since we’re beginning to explore our sexuality and what we enjoy.
Typically, when a teen thinks of contraception, our minds immediately go to the condom–the external (male) condom to be specific. But there are two kinds of condoms, an external condom and an internal (female) condom. These are also known as a male and female condoms though external and internal are more inclusive terms since not everyone’s gender matches their anatomy. Internal condoms are actually much harder to find and purchase. In order to use it, insert the internal condom like a tampon, but make sure to add a little lubricant to make insertion smooth. Make sure to insert the closed end of the internal condom all the way up to your cervix to ensure full effectiveness. It keeps the sperm from touching the vagina or passing through the cervix. Before going to purchase internal condoms or even external condoms, I suggest looking online to make sure they’re available before traveling to a local store.
The next kind of contraception is not very well-known. Spermicide is used before engaging in sexual activity in order to stop sperm from moving or reaching the cervix. It comes in the form of cream, gel, films, foam, and suppositories. No prescription is needed in order to purchase and use spermicide. It can be found in pharmacies and drug stores, usually at the cost of $2 per use. Before using, make sure you or your partner are not allergic since some people can have an allergic reaction to it. In order to know how to use the spermicide, read the instructions on the packaging and the expiration date. Simply insert the spermicide with your fingers or an applicator, just like you would a tampon. After insertion, some types of spermicide require a wait time of 10-15 minutes for it to dissolve before engaging in sexual activity. Spermicide is only effective for one hour at most, making reapplication crucial if you want to engage in sexual activity for longer. Spermicide can be used to enhance the effectiveness of another birth control method, like condoms or diaphragms. But there can be some downsides to using spermicide such as it leaking from the vagina; irritating the vagina or penis; an ingredient in the spermicide called nonoxynol-9 can lead to an increased risk in the transmission of HIV and STIs; and it can be hard to remember to use when under the influence. Overall, spermicide is another option for people to use as a contraceptive method. It’s hormone free, easy to use and easy to find, which can make it convenient for a lot of people.
The final type of contraception I’m going to inform you about is the Vaginal Ring. The vaginal ring is a hormonal form of contraception, meaning it releases hormones into your body when you’re using it. It is a flexible latex ring that is inserted into the vagina. You wear the ring for three weeks, allowing it to release estrogen and progesterone into the body. Once the three weeks are over, then you remove the ring, allow menstruation to occur, and insert a new one once your menstruation cycle is over. The hormones inside of the ring prevent the release of eggs from the ovaries, along with thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, and/or thinning the uterine lining to prevent a fertilized egg from successfully implanting. Unlike a condom or spermicide, the vaginal ring has to be prescribed by a healthcare professional. If you would like to use the vaginal ring, talk to your healthcare professional for more information, and they can give you a prescription. Remember, when you go to see your doctor, you can go on your own and don’t have to have a parent’s permission to receive a vaginal ring or any other types of hormonal contraceptive methods.
Since we teenagers usually equate contraception with an external condom, it’s important to know that there are different kinds of contraception out there for us to use. It’s up to us to make our own decisions about what is most comfortable and easy to use for ourselves.
Tags: contraception, birth control, spermicide, vaginal ring, condom