The Daily Evergreen guide to contraceptives

Depo-Provera (Depo shot)

–          99.7 percent effectiveness

–          Prescription

–          Long-term (One injection lasts 11 – 13 weeks)

–          Possible side effects: irregular bleeding, weight gain, headaches, stomach pain, dizziness, decreased libido

–          Many women who experience side effects report a decrease in these over time

–          May cause significant bone marrow loss

Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)

–          99 percent effectiveness (hormonal), 99.2 percent effectiveness (non-hormonal)

–          Prescription

–          Long term (lasts 5 years and up)

–          Can reduce menstrual cramps and make period lighter – for some women menstruation stops completely

–          Large initial coast

–          Possible side effects: breast tenderness, mood swings, and headaches

Oral Contraceptives (The Pill)

–          92 – 97 percent effectiveness

–          Prescription

–          Short term (taken daily)

–          Can make menstrual periods lighter and more regular (some kinds can be used to limit menstruation to happen only a few times per year), and

–          Can help clear up acne and ease menstrual cramps

–           Possible side effects: nausea, headaches, and increased appetite

Emergency contraception (Plan B or the “Morning After Pill”)

–          89 percent effectiveness if used within 72 hours after unprotected sex

–          Over the counter (available to females age 15 and older)

–          Short term (emergency contraceptive)

–          Possible side effects: nausea, vomiting, irregular bleeding

Female Condoms

–          79 percent effectiveness

–          STI protection

–          Over –the-counter where available

–          Short term (single use)

–          Stronger than laytex male condom

–          Not user-friendly – hard to remove/insert

–          Can slip into the vagina or anus during sex

Male Condoms

–          84 percent effectiveness

–          STI protection (except lamb skin)

–          Over-the-counter

–          Short term (single use)

–          Available in latex, polyurethane, polyisoprene, and lamb skin


–          99.5 percent effectiveness

–          Prescription – surgical procedure

–          Long-term (permanent – reversal  complicated)

Contraceptive Patch

–          92 percent effectiveness

–          Prescription

–          Long-term (replaced weekly)

–          Easy to use

–          Possible side effects: skin rash

Vaginal Ring

–          92 percent effectiveness

–          Prescription

–          Long-term (replaced every three weeks to one month)

–          Easy to use

–          Possible side effects: expulsion from the body, increased or irregular vaginal discharge

Withdrawal (Pulling Out)

–          78 percent effectiveness

–          Free

–          Very innefective – may not withdraw in time

–          Pre-ejeculate can still contain viable sperm

Statistics and information from The American Sexual Health Association