Tina and Dan are newlyweds who did not have pre-marital sex. Within one year, they would like to start a family. For now, they are considering various birth control methods. Linda is a young, single woman who is actively dating. She only chooses to be intimate with long-term committed partners, and she does not want to be a single mother. She is aware of the risks that are associated with sexually transmitted diseases. In Linda’s case, she needs birth control that will prevent pregnancy as well as provide protection from sexually transmitted diseases. Today, there are many birth control options for married couples as well as singles.
Tina and Dan have a few birth control options. Tina can take oral contraceptives. The pill has a 0. 1 percent failure rate (Glasier, 48). Menstrual periods tend to be regular and lighter. However, some women gain weight while taking oral contraceptives. Headaches, mood swings, acne, or breast tenderness are also possible side effects (Glasier, 70). Intrauterine systems and devices, like Mirena, have a pregnancy rate of 0. 1% in the first year. Sides effects can include increased menstrual bleeding and period pain (dysmenorrhea). The transdermal contraceptive patch, such as Ortho Evra and Evra, had an overall failure rate of 1.
24, “and the failure rate among perfect users was 0. 99/100 woman-years” (Glasier, 50). Breast discomfort and painful periods are also common side effects. For Linda, she can use male or female condoms in addition to a backup method. Male latex condoms offer protection against STDs, including HIV infection. The failure rate is 3 to 12 percent. Condoms that have been stored for long periods of time can break. Allergies to latex are fairly common. In this case, polyurethane condoms are a better choice. Although much more expensive than latex condoms, they “transfer body heat readily, so there is more sensation during sex” (Glasier, 25).
Female condoms are made of polyurethane and are less likely to tear. “The annual rate of pregnancy is 5% for perfect users and 21% for typical users” (Glasier, 31). Because condoms can break or slip, Linda should consider a backup method of birth control like oral contraceptives or the transdermal contraceptive patch. She can also consider an injectable contraceptive like Depo-Provera. It is 99 percent effective in its first year of use. However, irregular bleeding or long periods of light bleeding can occur. Condoms are the only birth control method that provides protection against HIV infection.
Some men complain that wearing condoms diminishes pleasure while others feel that it can help to prolong sex (Glasier, 24). Linda should discuss all options with her partner. Tina and Dan can use condoms as well, but most married couples don’t feel the need unless there aren’t any other options. This is usually due to health reasons or unpleasant side effects. Regardless of the type of birth control chosen, it should be a mutual decision. References Glasier, Anna and Beverly Winikoff (2005). Contraception. Oxford: Health Press Limited.
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