Contraception

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Robert Stonum Eng. Writing 101 M W 1 - 2:15 CONTRACEPTION Almost 3,500 years ago, men in Egypt wore condom-like sheaths as attractive and eye-catching penis covers. By the 18th century, condoms were being made from sheep intestines. In Victorian England, sexual stimulation was believed to shorten one's life, so sex once a month was considered more than enough. In the ancient Middle East, Arabs placed pebbles in the uteruses of female camels when they set off on long journeys. They thought that a foreign object in the uterus prevented pregnancy. In today's society, there are many types of contraceptives designed to fit our changing lifestyles. Eighty-five percent of women who don't use contraceptives during vaginal intercourse become pregnant each year. The only guarantee against pregnancy is not having intercourse, but if used correctly the modern methods of contraception can reduce the risk of pregnancy. Except for abstinence, the male condom, which is made of a tight material that covers the entire penis, is the safest way to prevent AIDS and STDs. They are also nearly one-hundred percent effective in preventing pregnancy when used properly and with spermicide. The failure rate of a condom, when used correctly and by itself, is about two percent. More often they fail around twelve percent of the time. There are a few different types of materials that condoms are made of . The most popular are made of latex. Polyurethane or animal skin are also used. The latex condom is the strongest of the three. The many kinds of condoms on the market are lubricated, non-lubricated, ribbed, and lubricated with spermicide. They also come in a wide variety of sizes. All of these can be purchased at local drug stores, gas stations, grocery stores, health clinics, and many doctors' offices. A more recent type of birth control is the female condom, which is sold in the United States under the name Reality. It is a polyurethane tube that looks a bit like a big male condom. One end goes inside the vagina, covering the cervix, and the other rests outside, which creates a little plastic tunnel. The cost is about three times of a male condom and some people find it creepy looking. This condom is a good method for those women whose partners refuse to wear a condom or have trouble sustaining an erection when they use a condom. It is also good for the females who are sensitive to latex. This is the only other birth control method besides the male condom that offers STD and HIV protection. The failure rate is about twenty-six percent, but some test show that it is more reliable if used consistently and correctly. The pill is also another commonly used form of birth control. It is a tiny little pill that should be taken at the same time everyday. If used in the proper manor, they are almost one-hundred percent effective, but they don't offer any protection against HIV and STDs. If the user sometimes forgets to take them, take them at different times everyday or use antibiotics while on the pill, then they are about ninety percent effective. Some women experience side effects, such as, painful breasts, weight gain, nausea, headaches, and depression, while others experience no side effects. There are different varieties of the Pill so a switch can be made if the user is having problems. One good note for women with painful periods is that the Pill often makes their time of the month almost cramp-free and shorter. The Pill may protect against ovarian cancer, but nobody knows the effects of using daily hormones for a long time. The Pill has also been linked to heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer, and cervical cancer. The Pill is a little more expensive than either of the condoms which will cost approximately $200 a year, plus the clinic visit, but all of this may be covered by insurance or Medicaid. Another form of contraception is Norplant, which consists of six match-size capsules that are implanted in the upper arm. Over five years, they slowly release synthetic progestin. Only about four percent of the woman who use Norplant for the complete five years get pregnant. The teenagers who use Norplant are less likely to get pregnant than the ones who use the Pill simply because they forget to take it. Smokers should avoid using Norplant because it increases the risk of cardiovascular problems. Like the Pill, it has also been linked the breast cancer About seventy-five percent of the women who use Norplant have irregular menstration for the first year, and some have serious spotting in between menstration cycles. This method does not offer STD or HIV protection. Noplant may be less effective for women who way more than 154 pounds. The cost ranges from about $345 to $370 for a five year period. Depo-Provera is another treatment for birth control. This an injection of synthetic progestin, which seeps into the bloodstream gradually over the next three months. It is ninety-nine percent effective and research show that it causes fewer health problems than the Pill. Some women have menstrual irregularities and weight gain, and it may also increase the risk of breast cancer in younger women. This method does not offer prevention against STDs and HIV. The cost

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