Lifestyle
The Manly Man's Guide to Contraceptives in the Philippines
What they are, where to get them, and how much you'll have to pay for each one.
ILLUSTRATOR Jasrelle Serrano
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From making love like you’re ugly to using eccentric sex toys, there are many strange and exciting options to spice up your sex life, but choosing the right birth control method should be at the top of your list. Safe sex is great sex, people.

It isn't just a woman's problem; most men are still uncomfortable talking about contraceptives. Thankfully, Cosmo.ph asked Dr. Rebecca Singson, M.D. about the common birth control options available in the Philippines. “The success rate of any contraceptive depends on the effectivity of use, and how correctly it is utilized,” Singson says. In other words, it’s useless if you and your partner don’t know how to use it properly. So if you haven’t already done so, have that conversation with your S.O. and clue yourselves in.

1. IUDs


What it is: An IUD (Intrauterine Device) is a tiny device made of flexible plastic that's inserted in a woman's uterus to prevent pregnancy.

How it works: There are two types of IUDs. The non-hormonal type is wrapped in a tiny bit of copper, which acts as a spermicide. It protects a woman from pregnancy for up to 10 years. The hormonal IUDs (like Mirena) use the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy, and they last for up to 5 years.

Availability: IUDs require a doctor’s prescription and can only be administered by trained health service providers.

Price: Copper IUDs can cost anywhere from P10,000-P15,000, while Mirena (the hormone-secreting IUD) can cost up to P15,000-P20,000 (not including insertion fee). At certain health centers, the copper IUD is inserted for free.

Possible side effects: The hormone-secreting IUD can cause irregular bleeding during the first three months. The copper IUD can cause stronger bleeding during a woman's period. 30% of IUD users have reported a lack of monthly bleeding after insertion.

Effectiveness: More than 99%. That means fewer than 1 out of 100 women who use an IUD will get pregnant each year.

STD protection: None.

2. Condoms 


What it is: A condom, as you already know, is a small, thin pouch made of latex (rubber), plastic (polyurethane, nitrile, or polyisoprene), or lambskin that covers the man's penis during sex and collects semen.

How it works: Condoms stop sperm from getting into the vagina, so sperm can't meet up with an egg and cause pregnancy. Lambskin condoms do not protect against STDs, only latex and plastic condoms do.

Availability: Mercury Drug, 7-Eleven, Ministop, gas stations—you can buy condoms almost anywhere.

Price (by brand for a pack of 3): P25 (Protec), P30 (Trust), P32 (101), P51 (Kamasutra), P58 (Durex), P65 (Premiere), P78 (Okamoto).

Possible side effects: There are reports of condoms impairing the penis' sensitivity. Some women dislike the feeling of the condom and find the rubber ring on the end uncomfortable. There are also people who are allergic to latex.

Effectiveness: If used correctly, up to 98%. Most of the time, condoms are only about 82% effective—18 out of 100 people who use condoms as their only birth control method will get pregnant each year.

STD protection: Protection against AIDS, HIV, and gonorrhea. Partial protection against chlamydia, herpes, and HPV, which can cause cancer.

3. Depo-Provera, a.k.a. "The Shot"


What it is: A birth control injection a woman gets from a nurse or doctor every three months.

How it works: The shot contains the hormone progestin. Progestin stops a woman from getting pregnant by preventing ovulation. When there's no egg in the tube, pregnancy can't happen. It also makes the cervical mucus thicker. When the mucus on the cervix is thicker, the sperm can't get through. It is safe for women to use while breastfeeding.

Availability: A prescription is required. The shot is offered at both private clinics and women's health centers.

Price: The Depotrust injection costs P120 (not including administration/injection fee). It needs to be administered every three months.

Possible side effects: Possible weight gain. Female patients can experience nausea, headaches, and breast tenderness.

Effectiveness: More than 99%, meaning less than one out of every 100 people who use it will get pregnant each year. But if a woman forgets to get her shot on time, it is about 94% effective, so 6 out of every 100 shot users will get pregnant each year.

STD protection: None.

4. The Pill


What it is: Birth control pills are a kind of medicine with hormones that a woman takes every day to prevent pregnancy.

How it works: The hormones in the pill stop ovulation. No ovulation means there's no egg for sperm to fertilize. The pill's hormones also thicken the mucus on the cervix, making it hard for the sperm to swim to an egg. The pill can also be used to regulate hormones, like in the case of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

Availability: It now requires a doctor’s prescription, but it is available in drug stores nationwide.

Price (by brand): P43.75 (Trust pill), P93 (Marvelon), P191 (Nordette), P355.69 (Althea), P450 (Cybelle), P623 (Gracial), P643.94 (Cerazette), P705.68 (Diane 35), P943.75 (Yaz), P944.30 (Yasmine).

Possible side effects: Birth control pills can cause a woman to experience nausea, headaches, and/or sore breasts. Taking the pill can also lead to venous thromboembolism (VTE)—the formation of blood clots in the vein. When a clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg, it is called a deep vein thrombosis or DVT. If that clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, it is called a pulmonary embolism or PE. People who have varicose veins, people who are hypertensive or diabetic, and people prone to strokes or heart attacks should be discouraged from using the progestin-only pills. Smokers 40+ in age have a higher risk of developing VTE.

Effectiveness: If used correctly, up to 98%. But if a woman forgets to take it regularly, the pill is about 91% effective—so 9 out of 100 pill users get pregnant each year. Vomiting and diarrhea can also cause it to fail.

STD protection: None.

5. Emergency Contraception


What it is: Emergency contraception is a safe way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. One of the most popular forms of emergency contraception is the Plan B pill.

How it works: A woman takes an emergency contraceptive pill (AKA the morning-after pill) within 120 hours (5 days) after having unprotected sex. There are 2 types of morning-after pills:

A pill with ulipristal acetate. A woman needs a prescription to get Ella, which is the most effective type of morning-after pill. She can take Ella up to 120 hours (five days) after unprotected sex, and it works just as well on Day 5 as it does on Day 1. If she has used the birth control pill, patch, or ring within the last five days, Ella might not work as well as other morning after pills (like Plan B).

A pill with levonorgestrel. Includes Plan B One Step, Next Choice One Dose, Take Action, My Way, AfterPill, etc. These types of morning-after pills work best when a woman takes them within 72 hours (three days) after unprotected sex, but she can take them up to 5 days after. The sooner she takes them, the better they work.

Availability: A prescription is required.

Price: Without access to Plan B, Nordette costs P191. Take four tablets within 72 hours of sexual intercourse, then another 4 tablets 12 hours later.

Possible side effects: Possible dizziness, headaches, stomach aches, weight gain, or weight loss.

Effectiveness: Highly effective if taken within the first 72 hours of sexual intercourse.

Levonogestrel pills, including Plan B One-Step and Next Choice One Dose, are up to 89% effective when taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex. They continue to reduce the risk of pregnancy up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex, but are less effective as time passes.

Ella is 85% effective if taken within 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex. It stays just as effective as time passes after sex. The morning-after pill will not prevent pregnancy for any unprotected sex a woman may have after taking the pills.

STD protection: None.

6. The Implant (Implanon and Nexplanon)


What it is: The birth control implant is a tiny, thin rod about the size of a matchstick. It releases hormones into a woman's body that prevent her from getting pregnant. It prevents pregnancy for up to 4 years.

How it works: The implant is called Nexplanon; there's a slightly older version called Implanon. A doctor inserts the implant under the skin of a woman's upper arm. It releases the hormone progestin to stop her from getting pregnant. Progestin thickens the mucus on her cervix, which stops your sperm from swimming through to her egg. It also stops eggs from leaving her ovaries, so there's no egg to fertilize. The implant is not permanent. If you both decide you want to get pregnant or she simply doesn't want to have her implant anymore, the doctor can take it out. She will be able to get pregnant quickly after the implant is removed.

Availability: It requires a doctor’s prescription.

Price: Implanon costs P4,000-P5,000 (not including insertion fee).

Possible side effects: Scarring (after insertion and after removal), possibility of infection during insertion.

Effectiveness: More than 99% effective. That means fewer than one out of 100 women who use it will get pregnant each year.

STD protection: None.

7. The Pull-Out Method

What it is: A man who uses withdrawal will pull his penis out of the vagina before ejaculation—the moment when semen spurts out of his penis.

How it works: Withdrawal prevents pregnancy by keeping sperm out of the vagina.

Possible side effects: Psychological damageit takes the enjoyment and spontaneity out of your sexual relationship, since you cannot climax together.

Effectiveness: Low (75-80% at most). Of every 100 women whose partners use withdrawal, four will become pregnant each year if they always do it correctly. Of every 100 women whose partners use withdrawal, 27 will become pregnant each year if they don't always do it correctly.

STD protection: None.

8. Vasectomy 


What it is: Vasectomy is a safe, effective, and permanent birth control method for men that blocks each vas deferens and keeps sperm out of the seminal fluid.

How it works: When tubes are closed, sperm cannot leave a man's body, and without sperm, ejaculate cannot cause pregnancy. This makes it the ideal option for a man who doesn't want to father a child biologically in the future. 

Possible side effects: Swelling may occur, and an ice pack will be helpful for the first 24 hours. Other potential side effects include bruising, which normally clears up on its own. 

Effectiveness: Extremely effective, as less than 1% of men who have a vasectomy will cause a pregnancy each year. However, the procedure isn't effective immediately due to sperm remaining beyond the closed part of the tubes. You must use protection or other forms of birth control until the sperm are gone, which can take up to three months. 

STD protection: None. 

Effectiveness percentages courtesy of Planned ParenthoodFor inquiries, email [email protected].

This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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