Common types of contraception

August 07, 2023 - 07:52


Dr. Olga Sambolska. Photo courtesy of Family Medical Practice

Dr. Olga Sambolska*

As a gynaecologist working in an international clinic in Hà Nội, I understand the importance of contraception as a vital tool that helps women take control of their reproductive health and plan their families on their own terms. There are many different types of contraception available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most common types of contraception include:

1. Hormonal methods: Hormonal methods such as the pill, the patch, and the vaginal ring, use hormones to prevent pregnancy. These methods work by preventing ovulation, thickening cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, and thinning the lining of the uterus to make it less hospitable to a fertilised egg. Hormonal methods are highly effective when used correctly. At the same time, it can help to regulate the menstrual cycle or treat menstrual pain.

2. Barrier methods: Barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms and diaphragms, physically block sperm from reaching the egg. Barrier methods are highly effective when used correctly, but they can be less convenient than other methods and require consistent use.

3. Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC): LARC methods, such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and contraceptive implants, are highly effective and require little user input. IUDs are small devices that are placed in the uterus by a healthcare provider and can provide protection against pregnancy for up to 10 years. Contraceptive implants are small rods that are inserted under the skin in the upper arm and can provide protection against pregnancy for up to three years.

4. Sterilisation: Sterilisation methods, such as tubal ligation and vasectomy, involve permanently blocking the fallopian tubes in females or vas deferens (the duct which conveys sperm from the testicle to the urethra) in males to prevent pregnancy. These methods are highly effective but are intended to be permanent and should only be considered by those who are sure they do not want to have children in the future.

Apart from these common methods, there are also other forms available, such as spermicide: a type of contraceptive that contains chemicals that kill sperm. It is less effective than some other forms of contraception and should be used in combination with other methods for maximum effectiveness.

Contraceptive gel contains a chemical that immobilises sperm, preventing them from reaching the egg. Contraceptive gel is highly effective when used correctly, it is important to follow the instructions for use carefully to ensure maximum effectiveness.

When choosing a method of contraception, it is important to consider factors such as effectiveness, convenience, and personal preferences. It is also important to use the method correctly and consistently to ensure maximum effectiveness. I always advise my patients to choose a method that they feel comfortable with and that fits their lifestyle and needs.

One of the most effective methods of contraception is the IUD. IUDs are small, T-shaped devices that are inserted into the uterus by a healthcare provider. They work by preventing fertilisation and implantation of an egg. IUDs are highly effective, with a failure rate of less than one per cent, and can provide protection against pregnancy for up to 10 years. There are two types of IUDs available: copper IUDs, which do not contain hormones, and hormonal IUDs, which release a small amount of hormone into the uterus.

While IUDs are highly effective, they are not suitable for everyone. Women with certain medical conditions, such as pelvic inflammatory disease or abnormal uterine bleeding, may not be able to use an IUD. It is important to discuss any medical conditions or concerns with a healthcare provider before choosing an IUD.

It is also important to remember that contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Barrier methods, such as condoms, are the most effective method of protection against STIs. It is important to use condoms consistently and correctly to reduce the risk of infection.

In conclusion, there are many different types of contraception available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Talk to your gynaecologist to make an informed choice to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. Family Medical Practice

*Dr. Olga Sambolska graduated from Lviv National Medical University in 1996 and commenced her medical career at the Volyn Regional Maternity Hospital in Ukraine. Since 1998 she has been a registered obstetrics and gynecology doctor, providing healthcare to women in relation to pregnancy, birth control, menopausal issues, contraception, menstrual cycle diseases and sexually transmitted diseases. She is fluent in Ukrainian, Russian, Polish and English.  

Visit Family Medical Practice Hanoi 24/7 at 298I Kim Mã St., Kim Mã, Ba Đình. To book an appointment, please call us at (024).3843.0784, or contact us via Whatsapp, Viber or Zalo on +84.944.43.1919 or email

FMP’s downtown location in Hồ Chí Minh City is in Diamond Plaza, 34 Lê Duẩn St., Bến Nghé, District 1, and 95 Thảo Điền St., District 2. Tel. (028) 3822 7848 or email