Also called: Contraception
Birth control, also known as contraception, is designed to prevent pregnancy. Birth control methods may work in a number of different ways:
- Preventing sperm from getting to the eggs. Types include condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, and contraceptive sponges.
- Keeping the woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs that could be fertilized. Types include birth control pills, patches, shots, vaginal rings, and emergency contraceptive pills.
- IUDs, devices which are implanted into the uterus. They can be kept in place for several years.
- Sterilization, which permanently prevents a woman from getting pregnant or a man from being able to get a woman pregnant
Your choice of birth control should depend on several factors. These include your health, frequency of sexual activity, number of sexual partners and desire to have children in the future. Your health care provider can help you select the best form of birth control for you.
NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Also called: Side effects
Most of the time, medicines make our lives better. They reduce aches and pains, fight infections, and control problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes. But medicines can also cause unwanted reactions.
One problem is interactions, which may occur between
- Two drugs, such as aspirin and blood thinners
- Drugs and food, such as statins and grapefruit
- Drugs and supplements, such as ginkgo and blood thinners
- Drugs and diseases, such as aspirin and peptic ulcers
Interactions can change the actions of one or both drugs. The drugs might not work, or you could get side effects.
Side effects are unwanted effects caused by the drugs. Most are mild, such as a stomach aches or drowsiness, and go away after you stop taking the drug. Others can be more serious.
Drug allergies are another type of reaction. They can be mild or life-threatening. Skin reactions, such as hives and rashes, are the most common type. Anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction, is more rare.
When you start a new prescription or over-the-counter medication, make sure you understand how to take it correctly. Know which other medications and foods you need to avoid. Ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.