Methods of contraception prevent unintended pregnancy and only a few of them can also prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Notably, contraception methods like condoms and pills seem to be the most used by young unmarried people in preventing unintended pregnancy. Barrier methods like condoms have been proven to reduce the chances of contracting sexually transmissible infections (STIs) when used correctly. However, they do not protect you against all STDs given that some of these infections like herpes, genital wart, syphilis to mention but a few, are a result of skin-to-skin contact during sexual intercourse. Some contraception methods are long lasting reversible contraceptives including the ultra-uterine device that is inserted into females and the implant method that usually lasts for five years. Intra-uterine device (IUD) is a small object that is inserted in a uterus and has two kinds; copper IUD which contains a metal called copper and the hormonal IUD that contains the hormone progesterone. It is inserted in a woman’s uterus and usually lasts three, five to ten years depending on the type used and is more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. The male contraception known as the vasectomy is the most effective and safest method meeting the needs of both men and women who desire to put a limit to future births. It is administered to men. There are also hormonal contraceptive pills administered orally to females like the combined oral contraceptive pills and the progesterone only pills. They are effective at a rate of 99% in preventing unwanted or unintended pregnancy, however, the prolonged use of oral contraceptives could trigger cervical cancer. What is done before contraception? It is vital that you go to your doctor before deciding on what method of contraception you want to use or prefer. Your doctor will want to first take a number of tests before prescribing oral contraceptive pills and administering your desired method of contraception to you. Various tests including the pap test that is done usually in conjunction with the pelvic exam is a test done on a number of cells from the cervix to detect cancer. Caution about side effects After a number of side effects arising from the use of contraception methods, we ought to know that those side effects vary from one person to another given the different reactions of our bodies towards medication. A source who preferred anonymity shared with The New Times her experience with different contraception methods. “I was once familiar with using one of the barrier methods of contraception which is the female condom and later on developed from time-to-time pain in my lower abdomen as a result of the condom getting stuck inside me without me knowing,” she says. “The pain I had started to experience was worrying, I decided to go see my doctor and that’s when I found out that I had something stuck inside me. “Luckily enough, the condom was successfully removed and after that, I promised myself to never use condoms again but rather use contraceptive pills prescribed by my doctor. Since then I haven’t had any intolerable complications,” she adds. “Contraception methods have side effects that vary depending on the type used,” says Dr Gerald Mbabazi, a gynaecologist working at Rwanda Military Hospital (RMH). He adds that people ought to know that contraception methods have side effects that also vary depending on the person using them. Some contraception methods cause temporary side effects that could turn out to be permanent or long lasting. Birth control pills affect a female’s hormonal levels and can lead to a number of side effects and when taken may lead to nausea, headaches, painful breast tenderness, cramps from time-to-time and mood swings. Generally, contraceptives may lead to menstrual changes in women that include heavier bleeding and changes in body weight. It is very advisable to consult your doctor upon the persistence of the temporary side effects given they may trigger illness.