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The zen of contraceptive success

We know that ‘perfect use’ of contraceptive methods is always better, more successful, less likely to produce side effects and pregnancy than ‘typical use.’ The question is how to maximize the effectiveness of your contraception in what we call the ‘zen of contraceptive success.’

According to James Trussell of the Population Research division of Princeton University there are 4 components of contraceptive success as measured statistically in users: the success that comes with perfect use, the success that comes with the typical patient use, the pregnancy (and really side effect rates) failure rates with inconsistent use, and finally, what % of patients are still using the method at the end of a year.

I see these 4 factors as the zen of contraceptive success.

  1. You need to continue your method! And do not stop until you have replaced this with another method. For instance, no matter how much you may like the contraceptive sponge, only 1/3 of women are using it at the end of a year. This is just not enough for success, no matter how effective during single use. IUD users who are teens are about 80% likely to be still using their contraception at the end of a year, but pill users who are teens are less than 50% likely to still be using their method at the end of a year. So when picking your next method, think about what you will be doing for contraception this time next year, and let that help be your guide.

  2. Make sure you are adequately protected against STDs, and for this, you may need to discuss with your gyno.

  3. Immediately report side effects of your method, most can be managed effectively, don’t just be miserable.

Plan what method is best for your desire to get pregnant. Here’s the one area you may want to also consult your partner. Ultimately contraceptive choice is yours to make

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