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Pros and cons of contraceptive methods

Health
The Western Cape Department of Health has assembled a list of pros and cons on the different types of contraceptive methods to help guide you on what could work best for you.

Male and female condoms:

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Filed picture: Newborn Dexter holding the coil

Condoms are the only single method that offers dual protection. Condoms are free of charge at clinics and are affordable at some pharmacies and shops.

Pros:

* Condoms can protect you against STIs.

* It prevents unwanted pregnancies.

* Condoms are free and easily accessible.

Cons:

* Condoms can break.

* You may have an allergic reaction to latex condoms.

* You need to find the right size as a bigger size can slip off.

Hormone patches

This contraceptive is a sticker with three layers. It thickens your cervical mucus and prevents sperm from entering your womb. You can apply it to your lower and upper body, but not around your breasts.

Pros

* It can prevent menstrual cramps.

* It helps to prevent acne.

* It is easy to use.

Cons

* It does not protect against STIs.

* If your patch is exposed to a lot of light, it may not be as effective.

* You may get blood clots, but there is very little chance of that happening.

Oral contraception for women (the pill)

These pills come in a packet of 28 and you should make sure that you take them once daily at the same time. There are two main types: combined oral contraceptive (COC) pills and progestogen-only contraceptive (POP) pills.

Pros

* The pill can offer relief from painful menstrual cramps.

* It can reduce acne.

* It is also free of charge at most clinics.

Cons

* It does not protect against STIs.

* You may experience migraines and gain weight.

* It also increases your risk of suffering a stroke.

Contraceptive injection for women

There are two types: Nur-Isterate, which is given every two months (eight weeks) and Depo Provera or Petogen (DMPA) which is given every three months (12 weeks).

Pros

* You don’t need to remember to take it every day.

* It is effective in preventing pregnancy.

* It gives protection against womb cancer.

Cons

* You may have an irregular menstrual cycle.

* Fertility may only return a few weeks after you stop the injection.

* You can gain weight.

Intrauterine device (IUD)

An IUD is a small device that is put into a women’s uterus (womb) by a specially trained health worker.

Pros

* The UID can prevent pregnancy for at least five years.

* The device can be removed at any time.

* It can reduce menstrual bleeding.

Male and female sterilisation

This is a permanent contraceptive method for both women and men. Before you receive this treatment, a health care worker should provide counselling.

Pros

* It is a short and simple procedure.

* It’s free at some health care facilities.

* It protects against pregnancy

Cons

* It does not prevent STIs.

* The process can be reversed, but it doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to fall pregnant again.

* You may experience some pain but should see your doctor for treatment.

Source: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/service/contraception-family-planning - Vuyo Mkize

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