A lot of patients come to me asking for the right way to use contraception because there are so many methods in the market and so less knowledge about what works and what doesn’t, most couples do not know which pills are safe and will there be any side effects after taking them? After the ban on comprehensive sex education, most adults and teens are clueless about where to turn to for knowledge about their sex curiosity.
Most people don’t discuss these issues easily as well because of the “sex” stigma in the society. We Indians are born to be shy & sensitive beings when it comes to this and yet we have the world’s second largest population.
There are two main types of protection that couples can choose from-
for Men & for Women
Firstly the most harmless and safest way to have protected sex is for the male partner to use barrier contraception.
1. The main source of contraception for men is a male Condom or a “barrier” protection. It is used during intercourse and discarded immediately. It protects not only against pregnancy but also against some types of STIs. Chances of pregnancy are less than 1%.
2.The second type of contraception men can avail is to use a spermicide gel. But these are less common and less effective and may cause irritation in some cases so use with caution and consult a doctor if you develop any adverse reactions.
Secondly, women using contraceptives have much more choice and flexibility depending on your needs and preference so they can choose which partner has the responsibility of safe sex.
1. You can either use Oral Contraceptive Pills (OCPs) over the counter like Mala-D or Novelon, for daily use upto 28 days and then wait till your periods to start the next cycle OR you can use The-Night-After-Pill post-intercourse like Unwanted 72 or Ipill, within 72 hours. The safest are the regular OCPs and also are the most commonly used pills by women for safe sex. However the-night-after-pills may cause irregular periods and hence are the second choice usually and reserved for those “emergency” situations only as they have other long-term side effects as well. They are made for certain age groups only and if used incorrectly, can be ineffective or can shut down your reproductive tract completely, hence are never recommended.
2. You could also opt for an Implant to be placed in your body like a Copper-T (intrauterine) or a Contraceptive Stick (Progestin only) that looks like a thin matchstick and is inserted hidden beneath your skin in the arm through minimally invasive surgery.
3. Though a little more invasive procedure would be an operation that you can undergo called tubectomy, in which they tie your fallopian tubes so that no ovum is released, it is also very effective in sterilization. But be careful with this as this operation can cause long-term infertility and if you wish to conceive in the future, it may not be possible to repair the tubes, so be sure you won’t be planning in the future.
4. Or if you like, you could go for the skin patches, that can be worn over your back or torso and release hormones slowly preventing pregnancy.
5. There are also “Barriers” for women like a diaphragm or a female condom that can be inserted as early as 6 hours prior to intercourse.They contain a sponge that prevents sperm from entering your uterus. However, these can increase your chances of HIV infection if you are exposed to a person with AIDs and similarly other STIs. Or you could go for the feminine cervical rings that release a hormone in your body to prevent pregnancy.
Of all these options, you can choose which of you want to take hold of the responsibility and take the next step well-informed. Discuss all the possibilities and talk to your Gynecologist before it’s too late.
Please note this article is only for your information and we do not recommend any brand or product. The correct way to safe sex is to consult a doctor to discuss and get to know what method best suits your needs & your body.