Posted on: June 18, 2020
Have you ever asked yourself, if short-acting contraceptives are truly effective? Because there are also their long-acting buddies and you are perhaps a little confused about their efficacy and usage? Don’t worry, we go straight down to the facts you need to know:
First of all, all short-acting contraceptives obviously have one thing in common: every one of them is very effective in preventing you from getting pregnant. However, there are slight differences when it comes to efficacy––and some pretty big differences in usage. The main aspect of all of them is that you must remember to take and/or use them either continuously or each time before you have sex. But you have the individual benefit of deciding for yourself which method and usage interval is best for you. That’s pretty cool and handy, isn’t it?
You generally might already have heard about some short-acting contraceptive methods: The “celebrities”, which are most commonly known and spread, among them include the Pill, the male condom, and the diaphragm, although they differ in efficacy and usage. When we talk about efficacy here we mean the efficacy of typical use with a risk of inappropriate application, inconsistent use or just simple human error. So now, to get the best out of it for you, we have listed the most effective ones with an efficacy of 91% or higher, meaning that about 9 or less out of 100 women in one year still got pregnant with the particular method:
1. Contraceptive Injection (94% efficacy)
This one is basically a shot of specific hormones, which stops your body from releasing eggs as well as thickening the mucus at the cervix (this blocks the sperm from even getting close to the egg). At 94% efficacy, it’s highly effective, it’s widely available, and––maybe even more important––it’s invisible. If you’re curious to find out more about the method and/or want to use it, you’ll need to talk to your healthcare provider. If you go for it, your healthcare provider will give you the injection either once a month or once every three months. And that’s another big advantage––no need to remember to take it daily or weekly.
2. The Pill (91% efficacy)
You’ve probably heard about this one already. Although the Pill has been around for about 60 years, it hasn’t aged a day in terms of its importance and efficacy, clocking in at 91%. Just like the contraceptive injection, the (combined and mini) Pill contains certain hormones which have the same effects on your body as the injection. Unlike the injection, you must take it daily at the same time. But don’t worry, there are apps you can use that remind you to take it. As there are different variations of the Pill (combined and mini), you should talk with your healthcare provider about the best option for you based on your medical background.
3. Contraceptive Patch (91% efficacy)
Maybe you thought you could only get anti-pregnancy hormones in the form of an injection or pill? May we introduce this sticky little friend, with efficacy of 91%. Although it looks just like a normal patch, its hidden secret is that it contains the same hormones as the contraceptive injection or the pill. The patch is not transparent, and therefore visible. You use one patch a week for three weeks and in the 4th week you go without a patch at all as your period will start in that week. After your period, you simply stick on a new one and repeat the procedure. Just like the other methods listed above, you need to talk your healthcare provider first before you start using it.
4. Contraceptive Ring (91% efficacy)
Last but not least, here’s another hormone-based contraceptive method: the contraceptive ring. This handy little flexible ring of polyethylene vinyl acetate releases the same hormones as the other three methods above, and therefore has the same effect on your body when it is placed in the vagina. Once in place, it can stay there for three weeks, then you remove it in the 4th week when your period is about to begin. After your period you start with a new ring. It offers efficacy of 91% and is widely available as well as quite easy to use; but just like the others, you should talk to your healthcare provider before you start using it.
Last but not least, let’s quickly talk about their buddies, the long-acting contraceptive methods, which aim for the same goal and are also very effective, but work differently than our “shorties” here. They have the advantage that you don’t need to remember to take them each time before you have sex; you have them inserted once, and they last and work over an extended period of time. You can find more information about them here.