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Any mechanical device or chemical agent used to prevent conception.



one of various mechanical, biological, chemical, and surgical agents and methods used to prevent pregnancy and one of the most common forms of contraception.

Mechanical contraceptives principally prevent spermatozoa from penetrating into the uterus; they include female contraceptive devices that are inserted into the cervix and uterine cavity and male condoms. Chemical contraceptives act on spermatozoa that have entered the vagina by immobilizing them and depriving them of their fertilizing capacity. Some scientists regard synthetic preparations that have a general resorptive effect on the body to be chemical contraceptives. It is more accurate, however, to regard them as biological contraceptives. Agents of chemical contraception used locally include globules, suppositories, pastes, creams, tablets, and foams. They contain acids, quinine, and tannin and a contraceptive base. Combination contraceptives unite both chemical methods that are used locally and mechanical methods; they include chemical (melting) caps, sponges, tampons saturated with spermicides, and douches that spray the vagina with spermicides. Biological contraceptives act on various parts of the reproductive process, for example, on the movement of sex cells through the reproductive system, on fertilization, and on the implantation of a fertilized ovum in the uterus. Biological contraceptives include highly active synthetic hormonal preparations for oral administration and certain biologically active nonhormonal agents, such as antihyaluronidases and antihistamines. The effectiveness of biologically active nonhormonal agents has not yet been sufficiently proved.

Oral and intrauterine contraceptives are widespread. Oral contraceptives have various mechanisms of action. The majority of highly active synthetic hormonal preparations must be taken daily for 21 days starting on the fifth day of the menstrual cycle in order to be almost 100 percent effective. Oral contraceptives have been developed that are effective when taken after presumed fertilization. In many women these contraceptives may produce bloody discharge, vomiting, and nausea. These reactions, however, are usually temporary and do not necessitate discontinuing the preparations. Oral contraceptives must be used only under a physician’s supervision. It is not recommended that they be used for more than six months consecutively because of possible complications.

Intrauterine contraceptives come in various sizes and shapes, for instance, rings, loops, and spirals. They are made of various materials, such as stainless steel and polymers. Insertion is into the uterine cavity, where the contraceptive is left as long as one year. The mechanism of intrauterine contraceptives is not sufficiently clear. Menstrual cycle irregularities, pain, and inflammatory diseases sometimes occur with their use.

Prolonged use of any contraceptive is detrimental to health, and it is necessary to change the contraceptive periodically.


References in periodicals archive ?
I encourage anyone with any doubts about the form of contraceptive they, or their family member, are using to speak to their GP about their concerns, Dr Seidel said.
Contraceptives have a higher success rate, so they claim.
340 healthy women aged between 18 and 35 were treated randomly over the course of three months with either pills with no effect (placebos) or contraceptive pills containing ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel, the most common form of combined contraceptive pill in Sweden and many other countries.
Use of contraceptives is independent of working status of woman.
The use and efficacy of conventional measures, such as barrier contraceptives (condoms, female condoms) and non-pharmacological methods (rhythm method, coitus interruptive) is not modified by presence of diabetes.
Numerous reports indicate that the Trump administration is preparing a major attack on sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States by undermining the federal contraceptive coverage guarantee.
Condoms is expected to dominate the overall contraceptives device market throughout the analysis period, due to the increase in demand in developed as well as developing economies.
Overall, compared with nonusers of hormonal contraceptives, participants who were current or recent users of hormonal contraceptives were found to be at greater risk for depression and antidepressant use.
Access to contraception is constrained by limited availability, especially of highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptives, high cost, incomplete insurance coverage, and lack of trained providers.
Women who stopped taking a hormonal contraceptive and became less satisfied with their marriage tended to have husbands who were judged as less attractive.
Similarly, working women are more likely to use contraceptives as compare to housewives mainly due to the time and costs involved in child care.
So although randomized, controlled trials report no significant weight gain, we do agree with these observational studies that show that overweight and obese teens gain more weight with Depo-Provera than with oral contraceptives or with no contraceptives," she said.