This month, we are going to give you the nitty gritty about contraceptives. We will talk about condoms, birth control pills, IUDs, spermicides, surgical options, and your body’s own natural birth control mechanisms. With every single thing there are advantages and disadvantages and you need to know what they are to make your own decisions.
Birth Control Pills
Alright ladies, some of us think we know the general basics about “The Pill”, but do know how it really works and its purpose? Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s talk…
The functional purpose of birth controls pills is to inhibit ovulation, fertilization, and implanting the fertilized egg. What does that even mean? In simpler terms, the pill makes the body mimic pregnancy. How? The pill disrupts your original menstrual cycle and releases the hormones responsible for ovulation. 
Some advantages of the pill are menstrual flow/pains decreasing and eliminating heavy irregular bleeding. The disadvantages are weight gain, depression, nausea, acne, and your menstrual flow can/will change depending on the individual. The pill is schedule based, so any disruptions makes you vulnerable to pregnancy.
These contraceptives are considered a physical barrier that prevents fertilization. Male condoms prevent the semen from coming into contact with the vagina meanwhile the female condoms prevent semen from coming to direct contact with the vagina and/or the uterus
Condoms is the only contraceptive that reduces the spread of sexually transmitted infections/diseases. They are one of the best forms of protection against spreading AIDS.
Intra-Uterine Devices (IUD)
IUDs create an inflammatory reaction within the uterine walls which prevents the implantation of sperms in the uterus. These also inhibit the ability of an interaction between the sperm and the egg. This is an inexpensive option; some medical insurance companies actually cover this procedure and it can be used for longer durations of time. For example, it can last up to 1-3 years before needing a replacement.
Common side effects from the use of IUDs are an increased pelvic inflammation, menstrual cramps during your cycle, and cramps and soreness for a few days after the insertion. You should still have a regular menstrual cycle if any irregularities occur and/or persist, please consult your physician. Please keep in mind when making your decision that IUDs are the most common cause of ectopic pregnancies, which are pregnancies that occur outside of the uterus (abdomen, in the ovary and/or fallopian tubes).
How is it used?
Who uses it? Man or woman?
Spermicide has the ability to kill and decrease the activity of the sperms, making them inactive. Spermicide is available in gel, cream, film, or foam; it is for males and females. Certain condoms contain spermicides to help kill the man’s sperm, if the condom breaks/leaks. Males can insert spermicide into their condom which can increase effectiveness. Women will insert spermicide into their cervix 10-15min before intercourse. Due to the fact that this is a product with chemical components it can increase the risks of chemical and toxic shock. Spermicide can also cause vaginal irritation because you’re using it every time before sex; vaginal irritation increases your risk for HIV and other STDs. 
There are two very common surgical methods to prevent pregnancy, the vasectomy (men) and hysterectomy (women). A vasectomy is a minor procedure that blocks sperm from reaching the semen. This happens by cutting the vas deferens which inhibits the sperm and semen mixing together; semen without the sperm prevents impregnation. Having a vasectomy is a very effective contraceptive because the possibility of becoming pregnant is very minimal. The vasectomy can be reversed for males, but it’s not always an option.  Unlike the vasectomy, the hysterectomy is a permanent procedure.
A hysterectomy involves removing the fallopian tubes. The fallopian tubes is where the ovary and sperm penetrates, the sperm and ovary membranes fuse, and the newly fertilized egg starts dividing. The hysterectomy is more effective because it isn’t possible to become pregnant since fertilization can’t occur.  Regarding surgical procedures, make sure your doctor informs you about any potential complications. Ladies, a hysterectomy isn’t reversible so keep that in mind when making your decision.
 Parenthood, Planned. n.d. “Spermicide | Spermicidal Lube, Gel & Foam.” Planned Parenthood. Accessed March 21, 2019. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/spermicide .
 “What Is a Vasectomy?” n.d. What Is a Vasectomy? - Urology Care Foundation. Accessed March 21, 2019. https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/vasectomy .
 “Hysterectomy.” 2018. Office on Women's Health. October 15, 2018. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/hysterectomy .