Contraception is the means to avoid pregnancy either by natural abstinence,
or by using artificial means. Natural contraception by means of abstinence
is very difficult to achieve and is not the practical method in present
times. Therefore, artificial methods have proved to be very advantageous
to avoid unwanted pregnancies in normal course, as well as in the cases
where the woman suffers from some organic disease, and pregnancy is advised
to be avoided.
Various methods of contraception
Hormonal pills (mostly a combination of estrogen and progesterone)
for women is the most effective method of contraception, as it inhibits
the formation of the egg (ovum) for as long as the pills are continued.
Now days, injections of long acting hormones are also available, which
remain in the body for 60-80 days and exert the same effect as that of
the pills. The advantage of the injections is that they have to be taken
only once in three months. The side effects of hormonal contraceptives
are temporary weight gain, sodium (salt) retention, white vaginal discharge,
reduced bleeding during the monthly periods, etc.
Intra uterine contraceptive devices (IUCDs) are used in women who
want to practice contraception after having one or more children. It involves
the insertion of a metallic loop covered with very the copper wire, into
the uterus. The side effects are heavy bleeding during monthly periods,
and sometimes, in between two menstrual cycles, secondary vaginal infection
marked by leucorrhoea (white discharge per vagina), pain in lower abdomen,
etc. It is not a 100% safe method and pregnancy might result even in presence
of the IUCD, though the pregnancy in such cases proceeds normally thereafter
and normal childbirth is possible.
Vaginal spermicides, available in the form of tablets to be inserted
into the vagina near the mouth of the uterus, are less protective, and
chances of conception while using these are very high.
Use of condoms for males is another method of contraception, though
even this method does not offer 100% protection against pregnancy. A common
hindrance to its usage is the belief that condoms hamper sexual pleasure,
and a rare side effect is a latex allergy for either partner.
Operative procedures like tubectomy in females and vasectomy in
males serve as permanent contraceptive measures and offer 100% protection.
Though in ancient times, abstinence was considered to be the only correct
and morally accepted method of contraception, some ancient scholars have
described the simple prophylactic measures to avoid undesired pregnancy.
However, the efficacy of these formulae is a needs much evaluation and
The powder of long pepper, Embelia ribes, and lead oxide (Suhaga)
in the dose of 1GM along with milk, should be taken during menstrual periods,
to avoid pregnancy.
The paste of hibiscus flower along with starch taken during the
first three days of menstruation acts as a contraceptive.