Everything You Need To Know About Contraceptive Methods And STDs

It is important to understand how every method works and what would make them fail, not only because of the possibility of pregnancy but because of sexually transmitted diseases that you may get if you are not aware of these facts.

Nearly 45% (or 2.8 million) of the 6.1 million pregnancies only in the United States are unintended.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 20 million new STDs occur every year in America and half of those among young people, aged 15-24. Only 12% of those who become infected, get treated, while the others don’t since some of the STIs are not symptomatic. The CDC also estimates that these undiagnosed STDs cause 24,000 women to become infertile each year.

We’ll start these facts with some info about the contraceptive methods and then we will get into the most common STDs, so you have all the data.

Safe Sex

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There are multiple ways to avoid an unwanted pregnancy (pills, patches, IUD, etc.). But there aren’t that many ways to prevent an STD, the only thing that is 100% effective is using a condom or practicing abstinence.

General Characteristics

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Contraceptives should all cover these characteristics:

Efficient, Reversible (some aren’t), Tolerable, Practicality and Acceptability. A contraceptive that can’t assure this five, is not considered as one by health experts, and neither should you.

Natural Methods For Men

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The pulling out method is used before ejaculation occurs. A lot of teenagers tend to use this technique. The main issue is: it doesn’t always work (because of pre-seminal fluid) and it doesn’t keep you safe from STDs.

Abstinence

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This is the most effective natural contraceptive and to avoid STDs, I’m sorry. It’s the best choice for teenagers, especially those who are not responsible or haven’t had a proper sex ed.

Natural Methods For Women

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This is to keep track of your cycle and only have sex when you are not ovulating. You should remember that the sperm can live up to 6 days inside you, so abstinence should last 7 days. Please know this is never an exact science and it can easily fail.

Artificial Methods

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The unnatural methods are condoms, IUD, Patches, Ring, Diaphragm, Spermicides, Pills, Surgery.

These are the most effective ones for staying STD-free and preventing unwanted pregnancies. Although, none of them is 100% effective.

Condoms

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They exist in multiple forms, flavors, and materials, so you can’t use the “latex allergy” excuse. If you’re already using another contraceptive to avoid pregnancy, it’s a good idea to partner it up with condoms to also prevent STDs.

Female Condoms

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Yes! These are a thing and amazing for protecting yourself against STDs! It can be inserted up to eight hours before sex. Also, it can be used during menstruation or pregnancy.

Condoms

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The two things you need to remember is: to fill it with water once you finished using it (to make sure it didn’t rip) and stay away from lubricants that are not water based, they will rip the condom!

That said, put one on and have fun.

IUD

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These bad boys are one of the most effective methods for birth control. What it does is prevent sperm from reaching and fertilizing eggs. Most women can use an IUD, just check with your doctor to make sure.

Hormonal IUD

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This hormone thickens the cervical mucus, making it a hostile environment for sperm, so they can’t get up there to reach the egg. It can last 3-5 years and as a nice extra, they reduce cramping, but that is up to each body.

Copper IUD

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This one has no hormones involved, it works blocking sperm from reaching an egg. Also causes the uterus and fallopian tubes to produce a sperm-killing fluid.

The downside is it can cause more bleeding and cramping during your period.

Downsides of IUD’s

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Some of the side effects of using an IUD could be: spotting between periods, irregular periods, heavier periods and worse menstrual cramps.

They are quite affordable, although some other methods are cheaper.

When IUD’s are not an option

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It’s important to check with your doctor first, but if you have abnormal vaginal bleeding, cervix or uterus cancer or an AIDS infection, the IUD is not for you.

Also, if you want to have a baby soon or if you are already pregnant, you should avoid these too.

Patches

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It’s literally a patch that you attach to your skin and it releases two hormones: estrogen and progestogen into your bloodstream. These are like the natural hormones produced by the ovaries.

The side effects of the patch are the same as those of the pill and vaginal ring.

Ring

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It’s a small, flexible ring that you put into your vagina once a month to prevent pregnancy. It contains hormones called estrogen and progestogen. These are the same hormones that are in most birth control pills.

Diaphragm

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It’s a small, flexible cup made of silicone or latex that goes inside the vagina to block sperm from reaching an egg. You need to use it along with a spermicide, that goes inside the cup of the diaphragm. You can leave it on up to 24 hours.

Spermicides

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These come in creams, foams, gels, suppositories, and films that contain a chemical lethal to sperm. They can be used alone or together with a barrier method (condom, IUD, diaphragm).

As a risk, it can cause mucosal damage to the vagina and cervix with high or prolonged exposure.

Injections

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The injections are supplied by your doctor, every 3 months. They stop your body from releasing eggs and thickens the mucus at the cervix, overall, quite effective. Of course, they don’t prevent sexually transmitted diseases, they just prevent pregnancies.

Pills

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The hormones in these works to inhibit the body’s natural cyclical hormones to prevent pregnancy. There are different kinds of pills, you should pick one that works for you.

The pill is easy, cheap, and overwhelmingly effective at preventing pregnancy—that is if you’re taking it properly.

When The Pill Doesn’t Work

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The pill may not work if: you forget to take them regularly; if you have any digestive disorders; if you are taking some other medication that may cut the pill’s effectiveness, like certain antibiotics, antifungals, anti-seizures, antіdерrеѕѕаntѕ, or anti-HIV medication.

Female Pill

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Let’s talk about the differences between the female and the male pill. The female pill can: increase the insulin resistance; cause migraines, weight gain, menstrual disorders, abdominal and pelvic pains, gastrointestinal and pigmented disorders.

When The Pill Is Not An Option

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If you are pregnant or have breast or genital cancer, if you have liver failure, pulmonary embolism, heart disease, hypertension, the pill is not an option for you, because it could aggravate the disease you have.

Getting Off The Pill

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If you were taking birth control but decided to stop, you may expect an irregular cycle, the comeback of the PMS symptoms, acne, as well as getting pregnant quite soon and, also, your headaches and other secondary effects caused by the pill may vanish.

Male Pill

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Yes, there is a pill made for male birth control, scientists are still developing it. The thing is, it has been on trial for a month and, apparently, it’s had good results.

Plus, it has fewer side effects than the female pill.

The Gel Of The Future

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Apparently, the sun shines brighter in the future for male birth control. This gel is called Nestorone-Testosterone and is meant to be applied every day to the arms and shoulders, to shut down the hormones that stimulate testosterone.

Surgery

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Sterilization is a permanent method for birth control. In certain cases, it can be reversed, but its success is not guaranteed. For this reason, surgery is meant for men and women who are pretty determined to not have children in the future.

Female Sterilization

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The fallopian tubes are cut or blocked so that the eggs can’t reach the uterus.

It can be surgical or non-surgical, which is, of course, less invasive. Each is almost 100 percent effective.

Male Sterilization

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The tubes that carry sperm are tied off and cut. Some men receive a non-invasive vasectomy where, instead of cutting the skin of the scrotum, very tiny holes are made.

Recovery lasts less than a day.

Combination Of Methods

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The truth is, although some of these methods are almost 90% effective, to avoid unwanted pregnancies AND to be STDs free at the same time, you should use the contraceptive of your preference plus a condom. Since these ones are the only way to keep you and your lover healthy.

Preventing Pregnancy

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As you can see, there are many possibilities for birth control and most of them, are pretty easy to use. Check with your doctor to evaluate your situation and decide which one works best for your body. Please note that what works for you may not work for someone else.

Having Sex While On The Period

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Sex during a girl’s period is not the most effective birth control. The egg that is released during ovulation, but remains unfertilized, comes out with all the menstrual blood. So, you can get pregnant while on your period, but the chances are very slim.

The Morning After Pill

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This one is not considered a contraceptive but an emergency contraception. This pill doesn’t cause an abortion, it simply delays ovulation. You don’t need to take it exactly the morning after unprotected sex, in fact, the sooner you take it, the better.

Side Effects Of The Morning After Pills

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Each brand could give you different side effects, it’s normal although you shouldn’t use it too often, only in cases of real emergency.

Some of the side effects are nausea, headaches, abdominal, muscle or pelvic pain, mood swings, irregular bleeding, tiredness, etc.

No Worries

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There are a lot of things that can go wrong but the thing is, if you are careful and responsible, you can enjoy and explore your sexuality without any worries.

Taking care of yourself and your partner is the only rule you need.

STDs

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First, we will talk a little about STDs, so we know what we are facing.

In general, STDs can be treated with antibiotics, and with no further complications if caught on time. Some of the most common are Chlamydia, Genital herpes, Gonorrhea, HPV, Syphilis and Trichomoniasis.

Symptoms of STDs

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Sometimes, STDs are asymptomatic, so you don’t really feel anything. And that’s exactly the problem: if you don’t get tested, you may never know you have them, and they keep working its way to making you sick without you knowing. Plus, you may be giving it to someone else!

Symptoms of Female STDs

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The most common are: no symptoms at all; uncommon genital discharge; genital itching, blisters or rash; painful or burning urination; pain during intercourse.

The less common are: bleeding or spotting between menstrual cycles, painless vaginal ulcers, rectal pain or bleeding.

Symptoms Of STDs in Males

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The most common are: no symptoms at all; genital blisters, spots or bumps; weird discharge; painful urination or ejaculation; rashes.

The less common are: flu-like symptoms; swelling of the testicles, urethra; rectal pain, discharge or bleeding.

Treatments

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Bacterial STDs can be cured with antibiotics if treatment begins early enough. Viral STDs cannot be cured, but you can manage them.

It is important that you take all of the drug prescribed to you, even if the symptoms go away.

HIV

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HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the cells which help fight off infections.

Although a cure does not yet exist, treatment can keep you healthy for many years and reduces your chance of transmitting HIV to your partner(s).

AIDS

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This is the stage of HIV infection we explained before, that occurs when your immune system is severely damaged, and you become vulnerable to opportunistic infections.

Once in this stage, life-expectancy without treatment falls to about 1 year. Treatment in this stage is still lifesaving.

HPV

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This is the Human Papillomavirus. There are two categories: low-risk HPV can cause genital warts; high-risk HPV can cause various cancers.

HPV is passed through sexual intercourse, open mouth kissing, oral sex and skin on skin contact with an infected person.

HPV In Women

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In most cases, it’s harmless and has no symptoms, but in some people, the virus may persist and lead to disease of the genital area, including genital warts and cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, and anus.

HPV in Males

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HPV infection can increase a man’s risk of getting genital cancers, although these cancers are not common. HPV can also cause genital warts in men. Often, a man will clear the virus on his own, with no health problems.

Hepatitis B

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Most people do not experience any symptoms during the acute infection phase. However, some people have an acute illness with symptoms that last several weeks, including yellowing of the skin and eyes, dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Hepatitis B Prevention

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Hepatitis B vaccine is safe and effective. As with any medicine, there are very small risks that serious problems could occur after getting the vaccine. However, the potential risks associated with the disease are much greater than the potential risks associated with the vaccine.

Gonorrhea and Chlamydia

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These are both bacterial infections that can grow and infect women in the cervix, uterus, or fallopian tubes and in men, in the urethra. It can also infect the anus, mouth, and throat.

Sex And UTIs

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These are not considered STDs, but sex can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract — and this can lead to a urinary tract infection. The symptoms can be annoying, but once you’ve seen your doctor about them and started a course of antibiotics.

Be Honest

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Once you decide to start a sexual relationship with someone, just make sure you are both being completely honest about your health. This is important to taking care of each other and to avoid an unpleasant situation in the future.