Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pill The Benefits

If you are able to maintain a routine and take your pill every day, you are in a committed relationship and STI's are less of a concern then the Pill may be good option for you.

There are no physical barriers to dull the feeling and you can have intercourse at any time while being protected.

If you frequently miss days taking the pill you may want to consider an alternate method such as VCF or if you have multiple partners you should consider a condom.

Missed Birth Control

Women who frequently miss pills should seek an alternate or backup method of contraception as it is a major cause in unintended pregnancies.There are many options available in this guide which can be used alone or in combination with hormone methods.

If you've missed one, then you should not be overly concerned but rather continue taking your daily pills.

If you've missed more than one then you should use an alternate method of contraception until you have taken the Pill for 7 days in a row.

Stopping Birth Control

Usually a period will return 4 to 6 weeks after stopping birth control using the Pill. The hormones you've been taking can slow down the natural production of certain hormones and in some cases may take some time to resume. This condition is known as post-pill amenorrhea and in most cases your period will resume within 3 months but could take longer.

Condom Side Effects

There are very few side effects associated with the use of condoms however there are many different providers offering varying products using many types of ingredients. If you have a latex allergy or if you have sensitive skin you may experience some irritation after intercourse using a condom.

If you experience an irritation, read the labels for additional ingredients which may have caused the irritation and try a product without it.

Sponge Benefits

The sponge can be found over the counter and does not require a prescription. It lasts up to 30 hours and will provide more feeling than a condom.

There are no hormonal side effects as the active ingredient is a spermicide.

Condom Benefits

Condoms (male or female) are the only methods other than abstinence which are scientifically proven to reduce the spread of STI's such as HIV. They are available just about everywhere and are effective.

With any contraceptive method you must follow the directions to be protected. Misuse of contraception is a major cause of unintended pregnancies.

VCF Benefits

Dissolves in seconds and lasts up to 3 hours. An effective product that neither partner can feel.

VCF is non-hormonal and contains a spermicide that kills sperm on contact. Unlike condoms, VCF is virtually undetectable by either partner after it dissolves and can be used descretely by the woman.

Sponge Side Effects

The sponge uses a spermicide which can cause an irritation for some women and the sponge should not be left inside for more than 30 hours.

There are a very few cases of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) - a rare but serious life-threatening bacterial infection. If you are prone to this then you may want to seek an alternate method.

Side Effects Pill

As with any prescription drug, you should always consult with your physician prior to taking them.

Side effects for the Pill may include:
Changes in your cycle or mood
Weight gain
Irregular bleeding between cycles
Breast Tenderness
Women who smoke and are over 35 are at a risk of blood clots

Many of these effects may subside after 3 months and if they don't, talk to your doctor about making some adjustments in the type and dose of the hormone.

If the risk factors are too high, then try a barrier method such as a condom or VCF.

The Sponge

What is the Sponge?
A polyurethane disk with spermicide which is inserted into the Vagina before sex.

The sponge is a delivery method for spermicide which has been proven to be effective, but requires that it stay in place for at least 6 hours after having sex but not more than 30 hours.

The device will provide protection for up to 24 hours and you do not need to use additional spermicide each time you have sex.

The Sponge is available over the counter and you do not need a prescription.

If you are prone to irritation from spermicide, then the extended period of time that is required for it to remain in place could worsen the irritation.


What is VCF?
A very thin square piece of material that dissolves quickly and releases its active ingredient nonoxynol-9, a powerful non-hormonal spermicide that kills sperm on contact.

If you use VCF, neither you nor your partner will be able to tell it's there. This means that you can enjoy sex with the knowledge that you are protected. There are no bulky inserts that you have to leave in, no applicators to either insert or clean off and since VCF doesn't contain a lot of inactive ingredients like foams or gels, it isn't runny or messy.

With all spermicides or hormonal products, VCF will not prevent STI's so if you have multiple partners or are not in a committed relationship we recommend abstinence or a condom.

Proper use of VCF:
1. Remove the square of film from the sealed pouch and fold it in half.
2. Make sure your fingers are dry, fold again and place on your second or third finger.
3. With one swift movement place it high in your vagina against the cervix, not less than 15 minutes and not more than 3 hours before intercourse. One film should be used for each act of intercourse. It is important that you follow the instructions carefully otherwise, as with any contraceptive, reliability cannot be assured.

VCF causes vaginal or penile irritation on rare occasion. If discomfort does occur at a time when you are using VCF, discontinue use. Should the irritation persist, consult your doctor.


Condoms (male or female) are the only methods other than abstinence, which are proven to reduce the spread of STI's. If you have multiple partners and are not in a committed relationship this should be your first birth control option.

Condoms provide a physical barrier during sexual intercourse and when used properly are an effective method.

Condoms are available without a prescription and can be found just about anywhere. There are few side effects such as irritation or allergic reactions in rare instances.

The physical barrier decreases the feeling during sexual intercourse which is not acceptable to some couples. You should evaluate your risk factors prior to trying an alternate method but, if you've tried condoms in the past, are not satisfied with the feeling and are in a committed relationship then you might want to try VCF which can offer birth control with full feeling.

Pill The

What is the Pill?
A hormone, progestin, estrogen or both used to prevent the womans ovaries from releasing an egg and/or thickens the cervical mucus to keep the sperm from joining the egg.

When used properly and consistently The Pill offers a birth control method which does not impact the feeling during sex.

You will need a prescription for hormone methods and be sure to remember to take it at the same time every day whether or not you are having sex.

As with any prescription drug you may experience side effects such as weight gain, breast tenderness, changes in your cycle or irregular bleeding.

The Pill has great benefits as there are no physical barriers during sex, however it will not prevent STI's so if you have multiple partners and are not in a committed relationship then a condom may be the best method for you.

Birth Control Options

The only birth control method that prevents STD's and is 100% effective is abstinence. however, that may not be an option for everyone and there is no one solution that fits everyone's needs.

The most important thing you can do is research all the methods and find one that works for you. We've developed this guide to help you through this process as there are many available options.

If you are having sex and do not use one of these methods the odds are that you will get pregnant within a year. Unwanted pregnancies are at epidemic levels and in most cases can be prevented. 50% of the sexually active couples in the United States do not use any form of birth control and with so many available options there most likely is something that will work for both you and your partner.

Why are so many couples not using birth control? We ask ourselves that question frequently and it is our belief that most couples don't know that there are so many options out there. Here are some examples of the misconceptions that we've heard over the years:

  • - My partner hates the feel of a condom.
A condom is the only proven method to reduce the spread of STI's and should be used for those who have multiple partners but there are alternatives which can not be felt by either partner.
  • I used to use the Pill but I am concerned with the health risks and other side effects.

There are many options out there which do not require hormones and have little or no impact on the feeling between you and your partner.

  • I've tried the Pill, condoms and spermicide and none of them worked for me.
There are many different types and manufacturers of most methods with different materials and levels of the active ingredients so even though you have not found something that works for you doesn't necessarily mean that there is not something out there that will work for you.

This birth control options section is designed to help you find something that will ultimately work for you and we invite you to join our monthly newsletter for important information about Women's reproductive health.