Non – Hormonal Contraceptive Methods | Women’s Health And Lifestyle

hormonal contraceptive methods

Non – hormonal contraceptive methods work by preventing sperm from joining an egg.  Even though the majority of these methods are not as effective as hormonal options to prevent a pregnancy, the most effective method falls in this group, as do the permanent, non-reversible contraceptive choices now available.  We will begin talking about the least effective non-hormonal method to prevent an unintended pregnancy and end with the most effective contraceptive in the market.

Fertility Awareness Methods

Fertility awareness methods are considered the least effective in preventing unintended pregnancies because a woman has to do something every day for continued protection, some days out of the month are considered “non-intercourse” days, thus spontaneous sexual activity is not always realistic and a woman’s menstrual cycle can stray from its normal schedule due to illness, medication, and stress.  Using more than one fertility awareness method at the same time can improve the chances of preventing an unintended pregnancy.

In using the Standard Days Method®, women follow their “safe” and “unsafe” days to take part in sexual intercourse by using CycleBeads®.  CycleBeads® is a color-coded string of beads that represents the days of a woman’s cycle.  A woman moves a ring over the beads to track each day of her cycle.  The color of the beads indicates whether a particular day may result in a pregnancy if coitus is initiated.  More information on CycleBeads® can be found at online.

In using the Cervical Mucus Ovulation Detection, women check the measure and quality of cervical mucus expelled from the vaginal opening with their fingers or tissue paper every morning.  Yes, you read that correctly, you are “going in” to check what your discharge looks and feels like!  Cervical mucus changes in color and consistency throughout the menstrual cycle.  Before ovulation (which is when an egg is released from an ovary), the mucus will be cloudy, white or yellow and sticky.  During ovulation, the mucus will be clear, wet, stretchy, sticky and slippery.

In using the Basal Body Temperature Method, women check their temperature every day before they get out of bed.  A woman’s body temperature rises as she nears ovulation.  With this method, a woman is expected to refrain from sexual intercourse starting on the first day of her menstrual bleeding until she has experienced 3 days in a row of the same body temperature.

Fertility awareness methods take commitment, patience, and a very understanding sexual partner!  If in doubt if you are on a “safe” day or not, err on the side of “not”!  Don’t take chances if you are truly trying to prevent a pregnancy.  If possible, use other more reliable methods on your “unsafe” days if sexual intercourse is expected (such as if an unsafe day falls on an anniversary, a birthday, or “make-up sex”).


Spermicide has a chemical that kills sperm.  spermicide may be purchased in the form of foam, jelly, cream, suppository or film that is placed inside the vagina before coitus.  Some spermicide includes an applicator while others are inserted into the vagina by a finger.  Some types must be put in place 30 minutes ahead of time (read the package for instructions).  spermicide have a higher unintended-pregnancy rate than other barrier methods.  Thus, spermicide should always be used with another form of contraception, such as a condom to increase protection.  Keep in mind that using this method a lot may cause tissue irritation (on the cervix, vagina or penis) which can increase the risk of vaginal infections and be infected with a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Barrier Methods

Barriers have been developed to prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg by either blocking the entrance to the cervix through a removable device surrounding the cervix or a cover that protects the penis or vagina.  Cervical devices now available in the United States are the diaphragm, the cervical cap, Lea’s shield, FemCap and the contraceptive sponge.  These cervical barriers allow seamen (or cum) to enter the vagina, but the device covering the cervix does not allow the sperm to go through the cervix.  Barriers like the female and male condom do not allow any semen to come into contact with the vagina (the cum stays within the condom).

Cervical Barriers

Diaphragms, Lea’s shield, FemCap and cervical caps must be fitted by an experienced health care provider and left in place by the cervix for 6 to 8 hours after sexual intercourse.  Some of these cervical barriers have to be inserted hours before sexual intercourse is anticipated.  Thus, the spontaneous sexual activity may be difficult with some of these methods.  Condoms and the contraceptive sponge do not require a prescription.

Female & Male Condoms

During sexual intercourse, physical barrier contraceptives, such as the female and male condom prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg by blocking the presence of semen in the vagina.  After ejaculation, the cum stays within the condom.  Unlike all hormonal methods, condoms do not require a prescription and side effects are minimal.  It is possible, though for either sexual partner to have an allergic reaction to latex, the material that the majority of male condoms are made.  Female and some male condoms are made of polyurethane.  A new female condom is developed from synthetic nitrite.  A female condom is worn internally by the woman to physically block semen from entering her vagina.  The female condom can be worn up to 8 hours before sexual intercourse!  That’s right, a woman can walk around with it all day!  A male condom is worn on an erect penis to physically block his semen from entering another person’s body during sexual intercourse, oral sex, or anal sex.  If a condom is the method of contraceptive choice for a couple, a penis should never be near nor enter the vaginal opening unless a condom is worn by either partner.  It is not recommended for both partners to have a condom on at the same time – the thrusting is believed to weaken the strength of the condoms, thus increasing the risk of breakage.  An added benefit to condoms is their role in reducing the risk to STIS.

Coitus interruptus (Withdrawal Method)

With the withdrawal method, the man does not ejaculate inside a woman’s vagina during sexual intercourse.  Recent research suggests that more couples use this method than before documented.  Even so, this method is not for the faint of heart given a typical use failure rate of 18%, but ranging from 14% to 24%.  Many couples report “pulling out” along with using another contraceptive method, like the pill or the condom.  One benefit to this method is that you won’t be annoyed by cum coming out of your vagina for the next 2-3 days.  Yet, before this method is seriously considered, remember that the guy really has to be in control of his ejaculation and some guys just don’t get out in time!

Intra-uterine Device (IUD)

ParaGard® is an IUD that can be inserted into the uterus by a doctor.  Unlike Mirena® (talked about in article #2), this method does not contain any hormones in it and it can stay in place for up to 10 years.  ParaGard® has cooper throughout and works by creating a hostile uterine environment to sperm.  Besides discussing this option with her doctor, a woman can always check the manufacture’s website at for more information.

Female Sterilization

Since 1982, female sterilization has been in the top two spots of one of the most widely used contraceptive methods in the United States.  The percentage of women who rely on female sterilization as their form of contraception increases as a woman gets older.  There are two rules to permanently stop a woman’s ability to become pregnant: a hysteroscopic tubal sterilization (known as Essure®) and tubal ligation.

With tubal ligation, the fallopian tubes are cut, burned, or blocked with rings, bands or clips.  Carbon dioxide is pumped into the abdominal cavity to make the fallopian tubes more visible to the doctor performing the surgery.  A woman is usually given general anesthesia, but local anesthesia is on the rise, with many of these rules taking place in an outpatient setting.  A woman will experience pain, tenderness and be bloating for about a week after the surgery.  The surgery is effective immediately.

For Essure®, a doctor inserts a coil through the vagina, cervix, and uterus and into the fallopian tubes.  A camera is also inserted to help the doctor pass through the vagina, cervix, and uterus into the fallopian tubes.  Believe it or not, you will be able to see what your vagina, cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes look like!  The camera is also used to help the doctor see that the coil was inserted correctly.  A woman is not given general anesthesia, but she does receive local anesthesia in the cervix.  Most women will be asked to take an over-the-counter pain-reliever before the procedure.  She will probably feel cramping throughout the procedure and for a few hours afterward.  During the 3 months after the procedure, the fallopian tubes from scar tissue around the inserted coil that prevents sperm from reaching the egg.  During this time, a woman must continue using another method of contraception to prevent a pregnancy.  After three months, a woman gets an Essure® Confirmation Test.  This test is usually done in a hospital because it uses a dye and a special type of x-ray to make sure that the coils are in place and that the fallopian tubes are completely blocked.  Besides discussing this option with her doctor, a woman can always check the manufacture’s website at for more information.

Male Sterilization

The most effective contraception on the market is not a method designed for women, but for men.  A vasectomy is considered the most effective contraception available.  It is the fourth most popular contraception in the United States.  A vasectomy is a permanent form of contraception that prevents the release of sperm when a man ejaculates.  During a vasectomy, the scrotal skin is cut, the vas deferens in each testicle and severed.  The two ends of the vas deferens are tied, stitched, or sealed.  Electrocautery (cutting with heat) may be used to seal the ends.  Scar tissue from the surgery may also help block the tubes.

During this procedure, a man is given local anesthesia in each testicle.  He is rarely, if ever, given general anesthesia.  The procedure takes around 20-30 minutes.  The man is asked to relax at home for the next 2-3 days and refrain from lifting anything heavy for one week.  His testicles will ache, be tender and he might experience scrotal swelling.

After a vasectomy, it usually takes around 15-20 ejaculations to completely clear sperm from the semen.  Thus, a man will have to use another form of reliable contraception for the first 3 months after the procedure.  After 3 months (or 20 ejaculations – whichever come first), the man will be asked to go back to the doctor who performed the vasectomy to confirm that the semen has been cleared of sperm.  This is done by having the man ejaculate in a cup and the seminal fluid is analyzed for the existence of sperm.

The testicles continue to produce sperm after a vasectomy, but the sperm is reabsorbed by the body.  Because only 1% of ejaculation is sperm and the tubes are blocked before the seminal vesicles and prostate gland (where the majority of seminal fluid is produced), a man will still ejaculate about the same amount of fluid. does not endorse any particular contraceptive method mentioned above nor does We receive any funding from any source that would cause conflict of interest in writing this article.


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