Contraceptives are more important than ever in our modern world. Family planning is a topic that has actually always moved mankind. A few thousand years ago women were already familiar with methods of preventing unwanted pregnancy.
In addition to condoms and birth control pills, there is a large number of other contraceptives.
For example, some nomadic tribes used sponges soaked in plant extracts that they inserted into the vagina as Contraceptivesto prevent sperm penetration and reduce their mobility.
This method is still used in part today. The famous Islamic-Persian doctor Ibn Sina (Avicenna), who lived from about 980 to 1037, documented 20 different methods of contraception.
In the Middle Ages, condoms made from sheep's intestines were used as a contraceptive in Europe, and in Pharaonic Egypt, women soaked small cloth flaps with a mixture of honey and the juice of acacia leaves. The substance was inserted into the vagina, the acacia juice is an effective spermicide.
Another ancient method of contraception is the so-called coitus interruptus, i.e. interrupted sexual intercourse. It is also the only type of family planning that the Roman Catholic Church and several other religious groups allow without controversy. However, there is still a risk of becoming pregnant.
In 1961 an event occurred that brought about a profound change in social life and shook its structures and values to the very foundations. The so-called birth control pill was the first hormonal contraceptive to be approved on the German pharmaceutical market.
In addition to all the discussions and research findings that prove the pros and cons of this hormonal contraceptive method, it still currently is Contraceptives the first choice when it comes to preventing pregnancy in the best possible way.
Of course the evolution is Contraceptives has not stopped since 1961 and in addition to the various types of “pill” that have now been developed, there are also other methods of hormonal contraception.
The pharmaceutical market now also offers three-month injections, there are hormone suppositories, hormone patches, hormone IUDs and hormone sticks that are implanted under the skin of the upper arm and continuously release hormones into the bloodstream. Vaginal rings that have been provided with hormone preparations are also in use.
In addition to all of these hormonal contraceptives, some mechanical contraceptives are used. The most widely known method is still the "spiral", also known as the intrauterine device (IUD). These are small metallic objects that are inserted into the uterus and, through mechanical stimulation, prevent the egg cells from implanting in the uterine lining.
With some IUDs, the contraceptive effect is reinforced by the secretion of copper ions, which have a sperm-killing effect. The mode of action of copper chains, which are also implanted in the uterus as a contraceptive, is similar. The advantage of the copper chain is that it is fixed in the uterus and so the risk of rejection is much lower.
A very rigorous method of contraception is sterilization or vasectomy. Both measures are irreversible. In the case of sterilization, the woman's fallopian tubes are tied or severed within a surgical procedure, and in a vasectomy, the man's spermatic ducts are also surgically severed. The decision to use this contraceptive regularly requires careful consideration and should be used if there is an absolutely necessary medical indication or if family planning has been concluded with certainty.
Further contraceptives that work on a mechanical basis and, in contrast to hormonal methods, do not interfere with the hormonal balance, which is always associated with side effects, are the condom for men and the diaphragm and the cervical cap for women.
There is also a so-called Femidom, the female condom. The condom and femidom also protect against infection with sexually transmitted diseases.
In combination with the mechanical contraceptives or separately from them, chemical preparations such as gels or ointments can be used, which are introduced into the vagina. Their chemical composition kills the sperm or impairs their mobility. These products can cause irritation of the mucous membranes in sensitive people.
Lately, herbal contraceptives have also moved back into the focus of medicine, but these have not yet been researched to such an extent that they can be used with a high degree of safety.
In addition to the above-mentioned contraceptives, there are also various calculation methods available for determining the fertile and infertile days. This calculation can be carried out using classic temperature measurement or using various small calculation computers that are part of the range in pharmacies.
Every woman should carefully select the contraceptive that is right for her individually and, if necessary, seek advice from her gynecologist.