The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Student Health: Different Contraceptive Methods Compared


Branded Content by Cosmic Press


Your years at university present a unique time of spontaneous interactions. This exploration should come with the knowledge and power to control your reproductive health. You might be considering different types of contraceptives for varied reasons, whether it’s decreasing the risk of pregnancy or protecting yourself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

With diverse contraceptive options available, which one should you try? Read ahead as we provide you with a thorough comparison to help make that decision easier and more informed.

What is Birth Control?

Birth control, also known as contraception, can serve as your personal strategy to prevent pregnancy. It’s an important part of sexual health, and it empowers you with the choice of when or if you want to have a baby. Contraception comes in various forms and methods.

Each type has its own features and effectiveness rates. Your ideal method of contraception depends on your lifestyle, health conditions, and personal preferences. Keep in mind that birth control only works if you use it correctly. If you don’t want a baby, you should use birth control.

Flo’s birth control quiz can help you assess how much you know about each method. Knowing where you’re starting from is important as it makes it easier for you to close gaps in your knowledge. The more knowledgeable you are on birth control methods, the faster you’ll find one that works best for you, your body, and your individual fertility or contraception needs.

How are They Different Than Fertility Awareness Methods?

Fertility awareness methods (FAMs) refer to tracking your menstrual cycles to try to identify your fertile days. Women may use the cervical mucus method, the basal body temperature technique or the symptothermal methodfor this purpose.

Instead of using a physical or chemical method to prevent pregnancy, FAMs often require abstaining from sex on estimated fertile days. This is different from other contraceptives, which usually inhibit ovulation, prevent sperm from reaching the egg, or stop egg implantation.

However, FAMs should not be used to replace birth control methods, if possible, as they’re less reliable. FAMs should be used in tandem with birth control to be the most effective.

What are the Types of Birth Control?

Besides abstinence and FAM, there are multiple other birth control methods to consider. Here are the most common types of birth control, and some options on how to use each method.

Barrier Methods

Barrier methods work by blocking sperm from getting into the uterus and must be used every time you have sex. They either have to be removed after intercourse or dissolve within hours.

Here are the current options for barrier method birth control:

  • Male Condom (82% to 98% effective): A male condom is a thin rubber sheath worn on an erect penis during intercourse. They can be purchased at most drug stores or found for free at Planned Parenthood. Users need a new condom every time they have sex.
  • Female Condom (79% to 95% effective): A female condom is a lubricated plastic tube that has one end closed. The flexible ring is used to help with insertion and should cover the cervix, while the open end should cover the labia. Female condoms are available at drug stores (although it can be hard to find) and should be removed after sex.
  • Spermicide (72% effective without a barrier): Spermicide is a cream, gel, or suppository that damages sperm and prevents them from reaching the egg. The gel must be placed inside the vagina 15-30 minutes before sex and works for about an hour. It must be reapplied every time you have sex. Spermicide is available at drug stores.
  • Diaphragms and Caps (71% to 96% effective): Diaphragms are reusable dome-shaped cups that are placed inside the vagina to protect the cervix. Caps are similar, except they’re thimble-shaped. Both methods should be coated with spermicide to paralyze the sperm and inserted 2 hours before having sex. They must be removed 6 hours after intercourse. Users need to visit a healthcare provider to get properly fitted.
  • Sponge (76% to 88% effective): Sponges are a donut-shaped device that utilizes spermicide to be effective. The sponge is dipped in water and can last 24 hours but should be removed 6 hours after sex. Sponges can be found at most drug stores.

Male condoms provide the best protection against STIs, but no method can truly prevent it. If you’re concerned about contracting an STI, speak to your doctor about how to protect yourself.

Hormonal Medication and Devices

Hormonal medication and devices change your hormones to prevent ovulation or change the conditions in your cervix or uterus. Some require daily use, while others are more long-lasting.

Here are the current options for hormonal medication and devices birth control:

While emergency contraceptives are relatively safe to use for most women, it shouldn’t be used in place of other methods. Consider adopting other methods to prevent pregnancy.


Sterilization, including a salpingectomy, tubal ligation, and vasectomy, are all valid methods of birth control. While male sterilization (vasectomy) and female sterilization (salpingectomy and tubal ligation) are over 99% effective, female sterilization is either permanent or difficult to reverse in most cases. Complications can arise from reversing all sterilization methods.

The majority of students are young and may not be sure whether or not they want to start a family. If you’re on the fence, it’s a good idea to hold off from using this method until you’re 100% sure. It’s a good idea to use other birth control methods before making this decision.

In Conclusion…

We hope this concise comparison of contraceptive methods has equipped you with the knowledge to make an informed choice about your reproductive health.

Remember that it’s not just about pregnancy prevention. It’s also about maintaining overall wellbeing and ensuring responsible sexual conduct. It’s crucial to choose a method that best fits you. Still unsure? Consult a healthcare provider or visit your university’s health center.

Branded content furnished by our promotional partners. The Daily Sundial editorial staff is not involved in its production. Content does not reflect the views or opinions of the editorial staff.
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