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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 ?
Across all ten countries, contraceptive prevalence rates rose where the density of providers increased, as expected.
With that general safety assurance as the backdrop, let's take an honest look at two recent contraceptive safety questions.
Of these women, 68% used highly effective contraceptive methods: 44% used hormonal contraception, 16% used IUDs, and 8% relied on tubal ligation or vasectomy.
Previous studies have similarly shown that contraceptive availability--through either on-site provision or through prescription or provider recommendation -is highest for oral contraceptives and lower for the patch, IUD, and vaginal ring.
A number of retrospective and prospective studies have found that the likelihood of contraceptive discontinuation is especially high within the first few months of use, and that method-related factors (e.
In the majority of cases, women used emergency contraceptive pills to make up for contraceptive problems, according to the study.
other hormonal methods such as oral contraceptives, the transdermal contraceptive patch and the vaginal ring
This, in turn, can assist women who do not wish to become pregnant in making contraceptive choices that best meet their needs.
It was therefore in view of these consequences, that the researcher sought to identify and describe the factors impacting on contraceptive practices of women during reproductive ages, using reviewed literature for justification.
USAID provides more than one-third of the total donor support for contraceptive commodities worldwide; UNFPA provides roughly another third.
A group representing pharmacists objecting to contraceptives said pharmacists should retain the right to make their own decisions based on their beliefs and their clinical judgments.
The collection of urine or other biologic samples is possible, at least from the date of inclusion; that is, some time after cessation of contraceptive use.