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Easy, Reliable, Reversible Contraceptives

Birth control has had a long and odd history. Since latex condoms weren’t invented until the 19th century, men used animal intestines as condoms; they blew the intestine up, used it during sex, and rinsed it afterwards for multiple usages. In the 18th century, women used to slice up lemons and stick it up their hoo-has as a home-remedy Plan B. The contraceptives available before the 19th century were not very reliable or sanitary. Luckily, with more research and education, promising contraceptives are readily available to anybody in California. Condoms and pills are pretty safe if used accurately and correctly, however, there are better methods that do not require as much maintenance and provide even better results. Her Campus UCSD promotes educated, safe sex and want our readers to know of as many options as possible when choosing contraceptives. Continue reading for five contraceptive options that aren’t the typical condoms or pill.


1. Intrauterine Devices (IUD)

IUDs are T-shaped contraceptive devices that can be inserted in the uterus for several years. IUDs release small amounts of progestin, a hormone that is always present in birth control techniques. Most birth control pills are either progestin pill or progestin and estrogen pills. IUDs are one of the most reliable and reversible contraceptive devices present in the 21st century; they have a failure rate of less than 1%.  IUDs also reduce the uterine lining, so menstrual cramps are reduced. The contraceptive also reduces menstruation for some women, and can even entirely eliminate it. The only precautions to have are (1) it can increase the likelihood of an ectopic pregnancy, and (2) the threat outside the IUD can bring in bacteria from the outside world and cause infections. The ectopic pregnancies are rare, so you should not worry too much about it. When dealing with outside bacteria, make sure your partner is STD free, and that if you aren’t sure, use a condom. 


2. Injections (Depo Provera)

Only 3% of women choose to use Depo-Provera, a contraceptive injection, as their means of protected sex. Depo-Provera has to be administered by a doctor; it is a quick shot, typically in the arm, that lasts around 3 months. This means that you have to receive a shot every 3 months. After about a year of using Depo-Provera, women typically lose their periods. However, this is a reversible process, so there is no need to worry about becoming infertile; you simply stop getting the shot. Not just to go along with our “3” theme, but truthfully, Depo-Provera has a typical failure rate of 3%, and when used perfectly, a failure rate of .3%. The only con that I found concerning Depo-Provera was it’s costly nature; the shots will usually add up to $200-$300 a year.


3. Transdermal Patches

Transdermal patches are estrogen and progestin releasing adhesive contraceptive patches. These patches have a 8% failure rate with typical use, and a .3% failure rate with perfect use.  You could shower, work out, swim, and so on, with the patch. You could use a patch that lasts for 3 weeks, or for 3 months, with one week of no-patch use for your period. Transdermal patches cost about double the price of combination pills (birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progestin). Make sure you change up where you place the patch each time you change the patch. For example, if you placed the patch on your back, put the patch on your arm or leg for the next use. Do not place the patch on your breasts or genitalia. 


4. Vaginal Rings

The vaginal ring, or Nuva-Ring, is a flexible ring that is placed in the vaginal canal. This contraceptive releases estrogen and progestin. It has a failure rate of 8% when used typically, and a failure rate of .3% when used perfectly. These rings typically last 3 weeks, but you could get a prescription that lasts 3 months. The ring has just enough hormones for 3 weeks for 3 months, so after those hormones are used up, ovulation will not be prevented.  You do not need to take the ring out for intercourse, but if you want, you can; it will not prevent contraception. Make sure you reinsert the Nuva-Ring into the vaginal canal at the longest, 3 hours after you take it out for intercourse. 



5. Implants


Implants, or Implanon, is only used by 1% of women across the United States. The contraceptive is a small toothpick like stick that releases progestin only. The implant is typically placed in the arm and can be used for up to 3 years. If you decide you want to have children, simply have the implant removed by your doctor, and ovulation will begin again. Because this contraceptive is placed by a doctor can lasts for up to 3 years, Implanon has a failure rate of 0%; it cannot be used inaccurately. While this contraceptive is the lowest maintenancce contraceptive of all time, it is also very costly. The contraceptive typically costs around $400-$800 for insertion and an exam, and another $100 for removal. One of the cons of this contraceptive is that you could have irregular bleeding. Make sure you wear a panty liner in the beginning few weeks of using Implanon.


Male condoms have a failure rate of 15% when used typically, and birth control pills have a failure rate of 8% when used typically. On top of that, these contraceptives can be high maintenance (since you have to remember to take a pill at a certain time each day) and can reduce the pleasurable sensation of sex (for condoms). If you want an easier option of making sure you have safe sex, talk to your doctor about the contraceptives mentioned above. Have fun and stay safe collegiettes!

Jasmine is currently a senior at the University of California, San Diego. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a minor in Education Studies. Jasmine is the Co-Campus Correspondent for Her Campus UCSD, along with the amazing Taylor Zepeda. Jasmine spends most of her time volunteering at low socioeconomic status elementary schools across the San Diego county and grading papers for classes she is a Teacher's Assistant in. Novel wise, she is an avid fan of Edith Wharton and the Lord of the Rings series. She also loves comedic shows like New Girl and The Big Bang Theory, but also enjoys thrillers like Criminal Minds. One of Jasmine's favorite hobbies is trying foods of different cultures; she loves visiting cultural nights and community festivals. Above all, Jasmine worships Beyonce (a.k.a. Beysus, Queen Bee, Baeyonce, etc). Her future aspiration in life is to become the Secretary of Education and have the Hov and B over for dinners.
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