Pill, patch, IUD... It can sometimes be difficult to understand the jargon of contraceptive methods. So, to clearly explain all these contraceptives (their forms, their functions, their actions...), here's a brief overview of the existing solutions.
How does the contraceptive pill work?
While various techniques exist to prevent unwanted pregnancy, the combined estrogen-progestin pill remains one of the most common methods. Indeed, about 4 in 10 women use this form of contraception in France.
The contraceptive activity of these pills is attributable to two molecules: synthetic estrogen and progestin. This type of pill should be taken every day at the same time for 21 days, followed by a 7-day break. It is during this week that menstruation occurs, or rather withdrawal bleeding, which is less heavy than "real periods". Indeed, here, the bleeding is due to the sudden drop in hormones when the pill intake is stopped. If you take the pill correctly, you will be protected throughout the month, even during the break week! There are four safeguards that ensure its effectiveness:
The progestin thickens the cervical mucus, which hinders the passage of sperm.
Estrogens prevent the growth of the follicle.
The two types of hormones inhibit ovulation.
The progestin makes the uterine lining unsuitable for the implantation of a fertilized egg.
There are several generations of contraceptive pills, with the second-generation pills presenting the lowest risk of venous thrombosis, thus they are the preferred choice.
Other methods of contraception.
However, the pill is not the only contraceptive method: today, there are a large number of alternatives. Some work through hormones, similar to the pill:
The hormonal IUD : This is a T-shaped device placed in the uterus that releases hormones.
Thevaginal ring : This refers to a ring placed deep in the vagina that contains hormones.
The patch : It adheres to the skin and releases hormones into it.
Thehormonal implant : This is a small rod placed under the skin that releases hormones.
The pill containing only progestin is taken continuously, thus eliminating menstrual periods.
Others act mechanically:
Male and female condoms : They prevent the passage of sperm. This is the only contraceptive method that protects against sexually transmitted diseases.
The copper IUD : The copper that makes up this device renders the sperm inactive.
The Diaphragm : This membrane is positioned at the base of the vagina and prevents the passage of sperm.
If you are unsure about which method would be most suitable for you, do not hesitate to consult with health professionals and family planning and education centers, who will be able to advise you.