The desire for birth control is almost as old as human history. During the Stone Age and Iron Age, humankind did not find any connection between intercourse and a child’s birth. They believed that a child was born out of the will of the gods. However, as humanity began to understand biological processes, he came to appreciate the need for birth control methods. Traditional contraception methods paved the way for the more advanced birth control methods practiced today. Here is a look at some of the common traditional and modern contraception methods.
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In Europe, women consumed seeds and leaves to reduce fertility. These included Ricinus seeds, castor oil seeds, and willow leaves. There are cases where peppermint oil, the earwax of animals, honey, and other sticky substances were applied to the genitals. Men wore sheaths made from intestines, animal bladder, and other materials over their penis to avoid pregnancies.
Abortion was also a common means of avoiding pregnancies. Women drank saps from trees, herbal concoctions, and had roots inserted into their cervix to induce abortion. Mercury was also used by many civilizations worldwide for its curative properties. In China, women drunk hot mercury to induce a miscarriage. In Latin America, rue, a bitter herb, has been traditionally eaten in salads as a contraceptive. Rue was also taken as a tea to induce abortion. When taken regularly, rue lowers blood flow to the endometrium, depriving the uterus lining of the nutrition required for a fertilized egg.
Indian women in North Carolina chewed parsley for four consecutive days to induce infertility. In Mexico, the Indians abstained from sexual intercourse for a couple of days after menstruation. Eskimos have also used chronic lactation as a contraceptive method for a long time. Indeed, the benefits of lactation for both the infant and mother have long been acknowledged. Lactation is effective in the first six months after birth if a woman breastfeeds regularly.
Many forms of modern contraceptives are an improvement of traditional contraceptives. One of the common modern approaches to birth control is the use of barrier methods. The barrier methods like the use of condoms, diaphragm, and the cervical cap evolved from the ancient practice of men wearing sheaths over their penis to prevent pregnancies. Condoms protect against many sexually transmitted diseases. Barrier methods are effective in preventing pregnancies 80 percent of the time.
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According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one of the most effective modern birth control methods is sterilization. In men, this procedure is called a vasectomy, while in women, it is called a tubal ligation. A vasectomy prevents sperm from being released when a man ejaculate. During this procedure, the vas deferens (a tube that carries sperm from the testicles to the urethra) is blocked or cut. On the other hand, tubal ligation is a procedure that involves blocking or cutting the fallopian tubes to prevent contact between eggs and sperm.
Another common method of modern birth control is the hormonal approach. This approach uses hormone regulation to prevent pregnancies. This practice evolved from the traditional practice of taking herbs, seeds, and leaves to alter the body’s hormones and prevent pregnancies. Some hormone methods involve the use of skin patches, synthetic progesterone, and birth control pills. Patches are placed on a private part of the body; the same way sticky substances were applied to the body in ancient times. Rings are placed inside the vagina and changed monthly. Another form of hormone regulation is progestin-only injection. Birth control pills are taken every day.
An intrauterine device is another long-term form of birth control. IUD birth control methods can either be copper IUDs or hormone IUDs. Both methods prevent an egg’s fertilization by killing the sperm and influencing the uterus where a fertilized egg resides.
Both traditional and modern approaches to birth control also involve natural methods. These include abstinence, withdrawal, and the rhythm method. Abstinence was also practiced in the past, and it involved not engaging in any form of sexual intercourse with a partner. According to the U.S. Department of Human Services, abstinence is 100% effective in preventing pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Another technique is the withdrawal method, where the male partner withdraws their penis before ejaculating. The withdrawal method is not full-proof because sometimes, during intercourse, a male partner may release pre-ejaculatory fluid that may contain sperm. The rhythm method is where a woman monitors her body to determine when she is most fertile. The woman then avoids unprotected sex during the time of ovulation.
Both traditional and modern birth control methods have been practiced to prevent unwanted or unprecedented pregnancies. Most of the modern methods are a manifestation of traditional practices that have been advanced by breakthroughs in the field of medicine. It can also be noted that some of the traditional birth control methods are also practiced today, like abstinence, withdrawal, and the rhythm method.
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The only way to be certain which birth control method is suited for you is to be evaluated by an experienced physician. At EZCare Clinic, we have different birth control methods, and we shall perform an examination to determine the best treatment plan for you. Contact us today for an appointment or visit us at our San Francisco location to evaluate your needs.