Our overview of different contraceptive methods serves as general info and guidance. It also shows how safe the contraceptives are: The Pearl Index indicates how many out of 100 women who use a particular method for one year become pregnant on average during this period.
Condoms & Sexual Health: a colorful bouquet full of safety
The pill, condoms, hormone patches, IUDs – the choice of contraceptives is huge. Since the requirements for contraception are very different, this is a good thing. Health factors, the need for safety, family planning and life situation influence the choice just as much as individual application preferences. As a general rule, the right contraceptive method must always be found together with a gynecologist.
Contraceptives without hormones
The cycle is observed so as to determine the fertile days. Two contraceptive methods possible:
Combines determination of waking temperature with observation of cervical mucus (mucus from the cervix). Quite safe (Pearl index 0.4 to 2.3). Cycle computers can help in documenting and evaluating the measurement results. There are also special hormone computers whose function is based on the analysis of urine.
Measure body temperature in the same place every day after waking up. If measurement errors are avoided, it is quite safe (Pearl index 0.8 to 3).
Diaphragm & Contraceptive Caps
It is inserted into the vagina with the help of a spermicide, sits directly over the cervix and prevents sperm from entering the uterus. The size is individually adjusted by the doctor. The contraceptive cap is smaller than the diaphragm, Pearl index: 1 -20 (diaphragm), for the contraceptive cap there is no clear Pearl index.
Chemical method of contraception available as gel, cream, suppository or jelly. Pearl index: 3-21 > not very reliable, spermicides can reduce safety of condoms.
Medical intervention is a definitive form of contraception, e.g., when family planning is complete. Both men (Pearl index 0.1) and women (Pearl index 0.2 to 0.3) can undergo sterilization.
Used for contraception, they protect against communicable diseases such as HIV infection/AIDS or hepatitis B. There are female and male condoms. Pearl index: 2 -12 (male condom), 5 -25 (female condom) > not as safe as hormonal contraception.
Contraceptives with hormones
The birth control pill is the only contraceptive in which hormones are taken in tablet form. Combination preparations: this pill (Pearl index: 0.1 to 0.9) contains estrogen and progestin. Important: taking the birth control pill every day.
Possible side effects: Breast tenderness, bleeding between periods, increased risk of thrombosis. Minipill/ micropill (monopreparation) contains the active ingredient progestin. The pill is taken daily at the same time, otherwise no contraceptive protection is guaranteed (Pearl index: 0.14 to 3). Interactions with other medications as well as diarrhea or vomiting can generally cause the pill to lose its effect.
The IUD can remain in the uterus for up to five years and constantly releases small amounts of progestin. This causes changes in the uterus and can thus prevent pregnancy. Very safe (Pearl index 0.16). Side effects: Spotting and bleeding between periods, breast tenderness, headache, weight gain.
The contraceptive method contains estrogen-progestin combination. It prevents monthly ovulation and must be changed 1 x week. High protection against conception (Pearl index 0.72 to 0.9). Side effects: Skin irritation, breast tenderness, intermittent bleeding, mood changes.
The plastic stick is placed under the skin in a minor procedure on the upper arm, can remain there for up to three years, progestin contained prevents monthly ovulation, very safe (Pearl index 0 to 0.08). Side effects: irregular menstrual periods, breast tenderness, headaches, mood changes.
This is a further development of the IUD and is also inserted in the uterus. It can stay there for up to five years. The copper chain is a very safe method (Pearl index: 0.1-0.5). Side effects: Spotting or increased bleeding at the beginning.
It is made of plastic. Use: It is inserted like a tampon and remains there for 21 days. It releases progestin and estrogen, preventing ovulation. Very reliable (Pearl index: 0.4 to 0.65). Side effects: Breast tenderness, sexual reluctance, bleeding between periods.
This hormonal contraceptive method contains a very high dose of progestogen. Side effects of the three-month injection: strongly interferes with hormone balance and has negative effects on bone density. The injection is effective for twelve weeks; high safety (Pearl index 0.2 to 1.4).