Safe Sex Is Very Important – Here Are Some Tips!

Sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies can be greatly reduced by practicing safe sex. Even thought no method of safe sex is 100% effective, it is still much better than not using any protection. The methods of protection, while not foolproof, still greatly reduce the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or an unwanted pregnancy.

So, if you choose to engage in sexually activity, it’s always important to use some form of protection. The following will outline some of the options available including abstinence and monogamy, both male and female condoms, and oral contraception.

Abstinence is still the best and safest method of preventing both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. It is 100% effective. Although it is the only foolproof method, it is not the most popular choice. The next best option if you are unwilling to practice abstinence, is to engage in sexual activities with only one person, in a monogamous relationship.

A monogamous relationship means that both you and your partner engage in sexual activity with no one but each other. While monogamy is not an effective method of birth control, it does minimize the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. As long as both you and your partner are free of diseases and remain committed to each other, you will remain free of diseases. Abstinence and monogamy are both highly effective safe sex methods. Abstinence is effective at preventing both pregnancy and diseases while monogamy helps to prevent diseases only.

The condom is one of the better methods available for avoiding sexually transmitted diseases. When they’re properly used they are also 97%-98% effective in preventing pregnancy. Male condoms are easily accessible in drug stores, grocery stores, and even vending machines. They are also inexpensive. There are male and female versions of the condom available. Male condoms are more popular. The male condom is a thin sheath, usually made of latex that fits over the penis and acts as a barrier to the exchange of bodily fluids during intercourse. Even if they aren’t used correctly, they are still very effective in preventing pregnancy (88%-90% effective). So even though they are effective, they are still not 100% reliable. The risk still exists, however small, of getting pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

The female condom is a polyurethane sheath that lines the entire vagina. The closed end is inserted into the vagina and the open end remains outside the body. It’s been available only since the 1990’s and is not as readily available at the male condom. If you can find it, you will also pay more for it, since it costs more than a male condom. It is however, just as effective as the male condom in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

There are oral contraceptives available as well that are very effective in preventing pregnancy. These however, do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. An oral contraceptive is a pill that is taken daily which uses hormones to prevent pregnancy. If used correctly, the pill is 97-99% effective.

As with any drug, there are side effects that come along with pill usage. Most of these side effects are mild. Some side effects include weight changes, nausea, irritability and breast tenderness. Even though these aren’t severe, they can be avoided altogether. Today there are numerous varieties of pills on the market. Talk to your doctor and find out which is best for you. Again, while oral contraceptives are effective against preventing pregnancy, they do not work against contracting sexually transmitted diseases. If you are not sure that your partner is free of disease, you should consider using another form of safe sex method as a back up to prevent these diseases.

If you want to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, it is best to take all the measure you can to practice safe sex. So while abstinence is the only 100% effective method against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, there are other options out there to explore that offer good benefits. Monogamy is effective in protection against sexually transmitted diseases, while condoms and birth control pills are effective against unwanted pregnancies.

Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch Linked to Serious Side Effects

The Ortho Evra patch was released by Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals in 2002 as an alternative to its Ortho Cyclen line of birth control pills. Ortho Evra contains a similar form of hormonal birth control similar to that of Ortho Cyclen and is highly popular among consumers for its convenience. Unlike daily birth control pills, the Ortho Evra patch just needs to be applied once per week.

However, it became apparent after the release of Ortho Evra that there was a much higher risk of birth control patch side effects than with birth control pills. The estrogen in the Ortho Evra patch passes directly into the bloodstream–rather than through the stomach and liver, as with the pill–so wearers receive up to a 60% higher dose than with birth control pills.

Because estrogen increases blood clotting, this increased hormone dose can cause a host of Ortho Evra side effects, including blood clots, heart attack and stroke. Studies have shown that wearers of the Ortho Evra patch face a risk of death three times higher than those who take birth control pills. Other studies have found that Ortho Evra users have four times the number of strokes and other birth control patch side effects than those taking the pill.

Both the Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada have issued warnings about the birth control patch side effects of Ortho Evra. Many physicians say that because there is little difference in the effectiveness of Ortho Evra and birth control pills, women should switch to the pill or another form of birth control to avoid the risk of Ortho Evra side effects.

So far, at least 23 women have died from using Ortho Evra. Several hundred more have suffered birth control patch injuries. Many of these women have filed Ortho Evra lawsuits against Ortho-McNeil and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson. The women allege that the two companies knew or should have known about the health risks posed by Ortho Evra side effects and that more should have been done to inform women using the patch.

What About Cigarette Filters?

Cigarette smokers are at danger of more than nicotine when they smoke. Tobacco smoke contains many different chemicals including benzene, formaldehyde, styrene, and carbon monoxide, all toxic chemicals with known effects. Nicotine is broken down by the body to an even more addictive and long lasting substance – cotinine.

But what about the filters? The filters are usually made from cellulose acetate, and studies have shown that smokers commonly ingest and/or inhale some of these fibres. This happens because small fragments of cellulose acetate become separated from the filter at the end face. The cut surface of the filter of nearly all cigarettes has these fragments. This means that if you smoke a filter cigarette you are likely to have small fragments of plastic-like material in your tubes and lungs.

Don’t let this be an excuse to go back to smoking unfiltered cigarettes. Cigarette smoke damages your heart as well as your lungs. Carbon monoxide and nicotine are the two chemicals in cigarette smoke that probably have the most effect on the heart. Carbon monoxide attaches to red blood cells, so that in smokers up to half the blood can be carrying carbon monoxide rather than oxygen.

Nicotine stimulates the body to produce adrenaline which makes the heart beat faster and raises blood pressure, forcing the heart to work harder.
Other parts of the smoke appear to damage the lining of the coronary arteries and this leads to the build up of fatty material in the arteries.

Many smokers have switched to low tar cigarettes. It is the tar that causes cancer, but low tar cigarettes don’t necessarily have less carbon monoxide and nicotine, so may be no less harmful for the heart. (This doesn’t mean that you should go back to higher tar cigarettes, but it does mean that you can’t believe that your health will be fine because you are smoking low tar cigarettes.)

My father’s last words before he died of a heart attack were “I’m dying for a cigarette.” He had no idea how true that was.

Jane Thurnell-Read is a writer and researcher on health, stress, alternative medicine, and happiness.

Ways Of Birth Control After Pregnancy

Practicing birth control immediately after your pregnancy period is a good idea if you want to lead a healthy life and have a happy family. It is important that you continue being on the alert once your pregnancy gets over. There are various ways of birth control to opt from but it is best to read journals, magazines, websites etc. and gather as much information as you can before you decide the method most effective for you.

It is normal for a woman to not feel sexually inclined soon after her pregnancy period. Nonetheless, the vagina heals within two weeks of giving birth putting you at the risk of becoming pregnant while still nursing. Beware of this when getting involved in sex after pregnancy. You must avoid getting pregnant at such an early stage which can be done by exercising birth control while breastfeeding. This method of birth control after pregnancy is called the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) and is said to be helpful in postponing fertility simply by feeding your baby. Following are the conditions required for this method to work:
You have to feed your baby from both breasts every four hours during the day and every six hours during the night

You must not have had a period since your child’s birth

You can use this method only for six months from your baby’s birth

There are other methods of controlling birth after pregnancy that you can choose from while you are still nursing. Two of them are:

Barrier Methods

IUDs: IntraUterine Devices

Barrier methods of birth control post pregnancy include condoms, female condoms, and sponges and help in making sex after pregnancy safe. Some are even spermicidal. Spermicidal methods should be used only when the vagina has healed completely. Prescription barrier methods like diaphragms, cervical caps, and shields require waiting for six to eight weeks after delivery. While using IUDs is a method of birth control while breastfeeding that will not have any change on your breast milk, thus neither on your infant. You cannot conceive as long as an IUD is inserted in you by a professional. Wearing a ring, using a patch and taking a combination of hormonal treatment are best avoided while you are in the process of feeding your baby.

Another method of birth control after pregnancy is to be aware of your menstrual cycle after pregnancy and refrain from sex on days that are “unsafe”. Once you have had your first period post delivery, you can keep a track of your fertility with the aid of a doctor and avoid sex on the days your body is more receptive to sperms.

The above mentioned methods are used before intercourse. But once you have had sex and a pregnancy kit tests you positive, you can turn to the Emergency Contraceptive pill for an urgent rescue! It can be used within 120 hours of intercourse but the sooner it is used, the better. Even if it does seem like the last resort, it is effective in birth control after pregnancy.

You should consider different facts and measures related to birth control after pregnancy before you consider and start sex after pregnancy. Some exerts believe that birth control while breastfeeding helps you to maintain a healthy gap between your children. One method of birth control after pregnancy is to be aware of your menstrual cycle after pregnancy and to avoid sex on unsafe days.