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Home » Medical » Contraception » Advances in Contraception

Advances in Contraception

»  Introduction of Contraception »  Male Contraception »  Misconceptions of Contraception »  Birth Control Education

Many new methods have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in recent years for use in the United States. Some are improved versions of existing methods and some are being introduced for the first time. Some methods have been available in other countries for many years but were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration very recently.

All these methods can be grouped under five categories:

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Combined Hormonal Contraceptives : Over and above the oral route of delivering combined hormonal contraceptives, researchers have developed a few methods with alternative routes of hormone delivery. This has been to avoid hepatic first pass metabolism and daily intake of hormones. The combined hormonal contraceptive methods introduced recently include: a combined oral contraceptive pill with a newer progestin, a contraceptive vaginal ring, a transdermal contraceptive patch, and a monthly injectable contraceptive.


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Intrauterine Devices : Researchers have been working to design a copper IUD that is highly effective, has minimal pain and bleeding associated with its use, can be provided to nulliparous women, is easy to insert and remove and has lower accidental expulsion rates.


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Barrier Methods : Leas Shield ® was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in March 2002. It is a reusable cervical barrier up made of medical grade silicone rubber. Leas Shield has the same shape as cervical cap and it also contains a valve in the center and a loop at the anterior end to facilitate removal. It acts by preventing sperm from entering the cervix. The first year failure rate is 9-14 percent. The failure rate varies by parity and concurrent use of spermicides. The acceptability of the Leas Shield was higher among female users than their partners.


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Female Sterilization : EssureTM, manufactured by Conceptus Inc., is a new method of female sterilization that uses the transcervical approach. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in November 2002. The Essure micro-insert consists of a stainless steel inner coil, a nitinol super-elastic outer coil, and polyethylene (PET) fibers. The coil is placed into the uterine end of the fallopian tubes using hysteroscopy technique.


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Natural Methods : The Standard Days Method was developed by the researchers at the Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University School of Medicine. This method works by helping women avoid unprotected intercourse during the fertile days of menstrual cycle. This method works best for women with menstrual cycles between 26 and 32 days long. It identifies days 8-19 of the cycle as fertile days. Women should avoid unprotected intercourse from days 8 though 19 of each cycle.