Many barrier methods of birth control are available for a man or woman, for example, the sponge, female and male condoms, diaphram, spermicides, male condoms, female condoms, contraceptive sponge, diaphragm, and cervical cap. Side effects, and efficacy (in preventing pregnancy) depends on the type of birth control used.Read more: Barrier Methods of Birth Control Side Effects, Advantages, and Disadvantages Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
12 Preventable STDs: Pictures, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment
Sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and genital herpes are common STDs. Think you might have an STD? You’re not alone....
The Surprising Health Benefits of Sex
How would you like a stronger immune system or better sleep? Action between the sheets can help you get all of this and more....
Choosing Your Birth Control Method
Which birth control option is right for you? Discover birth control methods such as birth control pills, birth control shot,...
Female Sexual Dysfunction: Treatment for Women's Sexual Disorders
Female sexual dysfunction symptoms can limit a woman’s sex life. Female sexual dysfunction guidelines aim to identify and address...
Sex Tips for Men: How to Have a Better Sex Life
Learn sex tips for men that lead to more sexual pleasure such as better communication, focusing on pleasurable sensations,...
Sex-Drive Killers: The Causes of Low Libido
Noticing a lack of intimacy with your partner? Here we explore how stress, lack of sleep, weight gain, depression and low T can...
Birth Control Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
What is the best form of birth control? Take this quiz to find out about hormonal, surgical, barrier, and natural methods!
Sex Quiz: Love & Relationships Facts
Relationships, sex, and love! Could it be that what motivates physical attraction in us may be all in our minds? Take the Sex &...
Genital Herpes Quiz: What is Genital Herpes?
What is genital herpes? Learn the causes, symptoms in men and women, and treatments for this common sexually transmitted skin...
Sex After Birth: How Your Sex Life Changes
Learn how your sex life changes after having a baby. Explore tips on how to regain sexual desire and strengthen your relationship...
STD Quiz: Symptoms, Testing & List
There are more sexually transmitted diseases than just the ones you've heard of. Find out what you've been missing with the STD...
Picture of Vagina
The vagina is an elastic, muscular canal with a soft, flexible lining that provides lubrication and sensation. See a picture of...
Related Disease Conditions
STDs in Men
Symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in men include painful urination, bumps or sores on the penis, and penile discharge and itching. Learn about the most common STDs in men.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, or urethra. E. coli, a type of bacteria that lives in the bowel and near the anus, causes most UTIs. UTI symptoms include pain, abdominal pain, mild fever, urinary urgency, and frequency. Treatment involves a course of antibiotics.
Syphilis in Women
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a spiral-shaped type of bacteria known as a spirochete. There are three stages of syphilis with distinct symptoms. During the first stage of syphilis, a painless ulcer is known as a chancre form. Irreversible organ damage can occur during the late stage of syphilis. Special blood tests are used to diagnose syphilis. Syphilis infection is treated with penicillin. Condom use can often prevent syphilis.
Should I Be Worried About Pregnancy if I Used a Condom?
Condoms are a popular method of birth control. If used correctly, there's about a 2 percent risk of becoming pregnant while using a condom, but it's a good idea to use another method of birth control along with it. Condoms are probably the most effective means for preventing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as long as they are used correctly during sex.
Gonorrhea In Women
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection transmitted during sexual contact. In women, symptoms include a yellow vaginal discharge, burning or frequent urination, and redness, swelling, burning, and itching of the vaginal area. Gonorrhea can be treated with injectable (penicillin) or oral medications.
Bladder Infection (Cystitis)
Bladder infection is an infection of the bladder, usually caused by bacteria or, rarely, by Candida. Certain people, including females, the elderly, men with enlarged prostates, and those with chronic medical conditions are at increased risk for bladder infection. Bladder infections are treated with antibiotics, but cranberry products and adequate hydration may help prevent bladder infections.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in women include gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, and HPV infection (genital warts). Learn about types, symptoms, and treatment.
Trichomoniasis is a parasitic infection that also is an STD. Symptoms include yellow, green, or gray vaginal discharge, strong vaginal odor, painful sex or urination, and abdominal pain.
Why Did I Miss My Period on Birth Control?
Missed periods on birth control are a common issue that affects many women. Learn why you missed your period on birth control, how your doctor will diagnose why, and how you can treat your missed period.
Birth Control Options
Birth control is available in a variety of methods and types. The method of birth control varies from person to person, and their preferences to either become pregnant or not. Examples of barrier methods include barrier methods (sponge, spermicides, condoms), hormonal methods (pill, patch), surgical sterilization (tubal ligation, vasectomy), natural methods, and the morning-after pill. Side effects and risks of each birth control option should be reviewed before using any birth control method.
Pregnancy Planning (Tips)
Pregnancy planning is an important step in preparation for starting or expanding a family. Planning for a pregnancy includes taking prenatal vitamins, eating healthy for you and your baby, disease prevention (for both parents and baby) to prevent birth defects and infections, avoiding certain medications that may be harmful to your baby, how much weight gain is healthy exercise safety and pregnancy, travel during pregnancy.
Sexual Response Cycle (Phases of Sexual Response)
There are four phases to the sexual response for men and women. Couple do not usually reach each phase at the same time, and they are dependant from individual to individual. The four phases of the sexual response cycle include phase 1, excitement; phase 2, plateau; phase 3 orgasm; and phase 4 resolution.
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. Signs and symptoms of chlamydia, a bacterial infection, include vaginal discharge, abdominal pain, burning with urination, blood in the urine, and feelings of urinary urgency and frequency. Untreated chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. Chlamydia is diagnosed with a culture or by identification of the genetic material of the bacteria. Treatment of chlamydia consists of a course of antibiotics.
How Do Female Condoms Feel?
A female condom is a barrier method of contraception. Female condoms are not tight on the penis, and they don’t inhibit or dull sensation like male condoms. Hence, it is believed that they feel more natural compared to wearing male condoms.
Cervical dysplasia is a condition in which the cells of the inner lining of the cervix have precancerous changes. There are two types of cervical dysplasia: squamous intraepithelial lesion and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. Cervical dysplasia is caused by infection of the cervix with HPV (human papillomavirus). There are various diagnostic measures for cervical dysplasia. Treatment generally depends upon the progression of the dysplasia: mild, moderate, or severe.
Birth Control Pill vs. Depo-Provera Shot
Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) and the Depo-Provera shot are two hormonal methods of birth control. Both methods work by changing the hormone levels in your body, which prevents pregnancy, or conception. Differences between "the pill" and "the shot." Birth control pills are available as combination pills, which contain the hormones estrogen and progestin, or mini-pills that only contain progestin. In comparison to the Depo-Provera injection, which prevents pregnancy for three consecutive months. Both methods of birth control are very effective in preventing pregnancy. Both the combination pill (if you take them as directed) and shot are up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. While the mini-pill is only about 95% effective in preventing pregnancy. Both methods cause weight gain, and have other similar side effects like breast pain, soreness or tenderness, headaches, and mood changes. They may lead to decreased interest in sex in some women. There are differences between the other side effects of these methods (depending upon the method) that include breakthrough bleeding or spotting, acne, depression, fatigue, and weakness. Both oral contraceptives and the Depo-Provera shot have health risks associated with them, such as, heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and cervical cancer. Birth control pills appear to increase the risk of cervical cancer. Talk with your OB/GYN or other doctor or health care professional about which birth control method is right for you.
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is an infection caused by Streptococcus or Staphylococcus. Toxic shock syndrome symptoms include low blood pressure, fever, and a rash with peeling skin. Treatment involves IV fluids to treat the shock, IV antibiotics, cleaning infected wounds, and hospitalization in the intensive care for other assorted treatments.
DVT and Birth Control Pills (Oral Contraceptives)
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that has traveled deep into the veins of the arm, pelvis, or lower extremities. Oral contraceptives or birth control pills can slightly increase a woman's risk for developing blood clots, including DVT. DVT symptoms and signs in the leg include leg or calf pain, redness, swelling, warmth, or leg cramps, and skin discoloration. If a blood clot in the leg is not treated, it can travel to the lungs, which can cause a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung) or post-thrombotic syndrome, both of which can be fatal if not treated immediately. Increased risk factors for DVT and birth control pills include over 40 years of age, family history, smoking, and obesity. Other medical problems that increase the risks of blood clots, for example, lung or heart disease, or inflammatory bowel disease or IBD (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). Other options for preventing pregnancy include IUDs, birth control shots, condoms, diaphragms, and progestin-only oral contraceptives.
Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POF, Premature Ovarian Failure, POI)
Primary ovarian iInsufficiency (POF, Premature Ovarian Failure, POI) is the cessation of normal functioning of the ovaries in women under the age of 40. Premature ovarian failure may be caused by follicle depletion or dysfunction. The most common symptom of premature ovarian failure are irregular periods. There is no "treatment" that will restore the ovarian function, but there are treatments that my relieve symptoms.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Pregnancy (STDs)
When you are pregnant, many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be especially harmful to you and your baby. These STDs include herpes, HIV/AIDS, genital warts (HPV), hepatitis B, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. Symptoms include bumps, sores, warts, swelling, itching, or redness in the genital region. Treatment of STDs while pregnant depends on how far along you are in the pregnancy and the progression of the infection.
Sexual health information including birth control, impotence, herpes, sexually transmitted diseases, staying healthy, women's sexual health concerns, and men's sexual health concerns. Learn about the most common sexual conditions affecting men and women.
Reproductive health encompasses the beginning of menstruation for women, choosing the right birth control method for you and your partner, preventing contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and for women, ending with the menopausal transition.
Local ResourcesFind a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) vs. Plan B (levonorgestrel)
- Birth Control Pills vs. Nuvaring
- Birth Control Pills vs. Condoms
- norethindrone (Nor QD, Nora-BE, Ortho Micronor)
- Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel, Next Choice One Dose, My Way)
- Side Effects of Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel)
- What Are Hormonal Methods of Contraception?
- Birth Control Pills (Oral Contraceptives) vs. Patch (Ortho Evra)
- Side Effects of Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone)
- Birth Control Pills (Oral Contraceptive) vs. Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone injection)
- Side Effects of Ortho Micronor (norethindrone)
- medroxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera)
- What Are the Barrier Methods of Contraception?
- What Are Intrauterine Devices?
Prevention & Wellness
- New Male Birth Control Pill Works in Study
- Long-Acting Birth Control in a Patch?
- Before Choosing an IUD for Birth Control, Know the Facts
- Is It Safe to Order Your Birth Control Online?
- Health Tip: IUD Fast Facts
- 'Cocktail' Approach Offers Early Hope for New Male Contraceptive
- Teen Birth Control Use Up, But Still Too Many Unwanted Pregnancies
- FDA Announces Safety Monitoring Measures for Essure Birth Control Device
- U.S. Supreme Court Rejects States' Appeal Over Medicaid Funding for Planned Parenthood
- Birth Control Coverage Opt-Out Finalized by Trump Administration
- Vaginal Ring That Targets Pregnancy, HIV Seems Safe: Study
- Self-Lubricating Condom Might Increase Its Use
- Fewer American Teens Having Sex, Most Using Birth Control
- Health Tip: Understanding Vasectomy
- Bayer Stops U.S. Sale of Essure Birth Control Implant
- U.S. Fertility Rates Hit Record Low in 2017
- Some HHS Funding for Pregnancy Prevention Program to Continue
- Health Tip: Vasectomy Has Some Risks
- 'March Madness' a Peak Time for Vasectomies
- White House to Roll Back Birth Control Mandate in Employers' Health Care Plans
- Are Birth Control Pills Tied to Decline in Ovarian Cancer Deaths?
- Vitamin D Levels May Fall When Women Stop Taking Birth Control
- Put Birth Control in Place Right After Childbirth
- Monthly Vaginal Ring May Help Protect Against HIV
- The Pill Remains Most Common Method of Birth Control, U.S. Report Shows
- Bill Gates's $100,000 Condom Challenge
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter