The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease and physical defects. That is why sexual harmony is an integral part of one’s overall well-being. What is sexual harmony?

Since time immemorial, humans, unlike animals, have been sexually active not only for the purpose of procreation. Therefore the question of excluding an unplanned pregnancy has always been quite acute. So today, in the 21st century, when it is possible to choose the best method of protection for each couple, the main method of family planning should be contraception. Unfortunately, in Russia, especially in some regions, abortion is still the leading method of birth control.

Let’s understand what contraception including is and what the ideal contraceptive should be.

In simple terms, contraception is the prevention of pregnancy and disease by any mechanical, chemical or other means.

Obviously, the ideal contraceptive must be effective – both in protecting against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections; harmless; easy to use and inexpensive.

Globally, all contraceptive methods can be divided into reversible and irreversible.

Male and female sterilization are considered irreversible.

In some cases, vasectomy – sterilization surgery in men – can be reversible (restoration of fertility in about one in two men when restoring the patency of the seminal ducts (vasostomy) within 10 years). There are reports online that George Clooney, who had a vasectomy in 1994 and a vasostomy in 2014, successfully became a father in 2017.

Female sterilization involves ligation, excision, crossing, and blockage of the fallopian tubes. In our country, female sterilization is performed only in women of older reproductive age who have at least one child and do not wish to have children in the future.

Barrier, chemical, intrauterine, hormonal – all these methods of contraception are reversible.

Barrier contraception existed in Ancient Rome, where papyrus impregnated with oils was used as a prototype of the modern condom. And in England in the 17th century already our era personal physician of Charles II made specially for the king caps from sheep intestines – so amorous ruler could regulate the birth of children. Around the same time, the Italian anatomist professor Gabriele Fallopio recommended the use of a linen sack soaked in medicines as a prevention of syphilis infection (it must be said that in Europe, after the discovery of America by Columbus, an epidemic of this disease was recorded).
Nowadays, there are many barrier methods of contraception – male and female condoms, diaphragms, uterine caps. To evaluate the effectiveness of a particular method of contraception in medicine, it is customary to use the Perl index – the number of pregnancies out of 100 women who use this method for a year. So for the barrier method, the Pearl Index is 2-18. Condoms do have a disadvantage – they can break. But a huge plus in their use is that this is the only method to date that protects against sexually transmitted infections.
The progenitor of modern intrauterine contraception was the practice of Japanese Geisha to introduce silver balls into the uterine cavity. Nowadays there are copper-containing and hormone-containing coils. The coil is inserted into the uterine cavity for a long period of time – up to 5 years, which makes this method of contraception economically advantageous. However, its use requires the help of a doctor.
Since the middle of the last century, when the American Gregory Pinkus invented the first contraceptives, the era of hormonal contraception began. Hormonal contraception nowadays can be used in different forms – pills, patch, intrauterine system, vaginal ring. Hormonal contraception is considered one of the most reliable methods of protection against unwanted pregnancy – the Perl index is 0.5-0.9. “So why not 0?” – you ask. Most often, such “blunders” are associated with non-compliance with the rules of contraceptive use – skipping the pill or not taking it on time.
In 2015, the World Health Organization adopted the Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraception. Doctors are guided by them when recommending a particular contraceptive method to you. Remember, choosing the best contraceptive method is a question worth discussing at your next appointment with your doctor. He will help you weigh up the pros and cons, take into account your capabilities and wishes, and recommend the most suitable method.