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Birth Control Facts

Birth Control Pills and Condoms Explained

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The two most popular forms of birth control for teens are condoms and the Pill. These two options are so popular that it is important for teens know how they really work. Here are some of the most important things teens should know about condoms and the Pill.

Must Know Facts About Condoms

When used properly condoms offer good protection against pregnancy and some protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Condoms are not fool proof, they do fail, but they can help decrease your risks. Condoms must be used exactly as directed on the package. If you do not use condoms as directed their failure rate dramatically increases. Never use more than one condom at a time, one is all you need.

Only water based lubricants should be used with condoms, oil based lubricants can cause the condom to break. Some examples of oil based lubricants are; baby oil, cold cream, Vaseline, hand cream or any cooking oil.

Condoms should never be stored in your wallet or any other small and warm space. They should only be stored in a dry and cool place. Glow in the dark, colored or flavored condoms do not generally offer protection against pregnancy or STIs. Read the label to be sure.

You need to put on a new condom each time there is ejaculation. You must use condoms with oral and anal sex to protect against STIs even though pregnancy is not a concern.

Condoms do offer some decreased sensitivity for guys but they do not mean that there is no sensation at all. For some guys who have problems with premature ejaculation condoms can actually help.

You do not need a prescription for condoms and they can be bought almost anywhere. With very few exceptions condoms are one size fits all. There are not many guys who are too large or too small for the average condom.

Must Know Facts About the Pill

The effectiveness of birth control pills depends entirely on how they are used. While the stated effectiveness is 96-99% in reality this rate is much lower, around 87%. Poor user habits are the reason for the discrepancy. Taking the Pill at different times of day, missing days or skipping pills all decrease the effectiveness.

Some birth control pills can help control acne. Others can reduce menstrual cramping, lighten your flow or help with irritability. There are even birth control pills that can be taken for three months at a time reducing the number of periods you have each year. Ask your doctor to find out which type of birth control pill is right for you.

Some prescription medications and certain herbal treatments, like St. John's Wort and Ephedrine, can decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. Always tell your doctor which medications, herbal remedies and over the counter products you are using.

If you become very ill with vomiting and diarrhea, the effectiveness of your birth control pills can be significantly reduced. If this happens you must continue taking your pills and use a second method of birth control until you have a period and start a new pack.

The Pill does not protect you against STIs. It is only birth control not STI protection. The Pill offers some preventative benefits; less chance of getting pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), some protection against benign breast cysts, some protection against ovarian and uterine cancers, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

The most common side effects of the Pill are headaches, spotting between periods and weight changes. Smokers should consider a different form of birth control, the Pill is not recommended for smokers of any age. The most serious complication associated with birth control pills are blood clots. This is a rare complication.

Birth control pills do not make you fat. Some people do gain weight on the Pill, an average of 5 pounds, but some people lose weight. It is hard to tell if your weight will be affected until you are taking the Pill.

You do not need to take a break from using the Pill. There is no medical reason for periodically going off of the Pill. This practice is totally unnecessary and rarely recommended.

Taking the Pill has no effect on your virginity. If you take the Pill but do not have sex you are still a virgin. The Pill does not cause a change in body odor, it does not send out pheromones or hormonal cues to boys that you are ready to have sex or want to have sex. Taking the Pill will not make you more sexually active or cause you to want sex more often. It does not make you promiscuous.

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