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Birth Control Methods Found Over the Counter

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Over-the-counter birth control methods are contraception options that do not require a doctor's prescription to obtain. Most are considered to be barrier methods (preventing sperm from reaching the egg) and can also be used as back-up options to hormonal contraception.
  1. Male Condoms
  2. Condom Questions
  3. Types of Condoms
  4. Female Condoms
  5. The Sponge
  1. Spermicide
  2. Personal Lubricants
  3. Morning After Pill
  4. Pregnancy Tests

Male Condoms

A male condom should snugly fit over a man's erect penis during sex. It is  the only contraceptive option for men other than a vasectomy. Condoms are the only birth control method that can help protect against STIs.

Condom Questions

Lots of people use condoms -- they are easy to find, inexpensive and simple to use. If you have any questions about condom use, make sure you know the answers before using a condom.

Types of Condoms

When you are choosing types of condoms, it's important to think about what you are going to be using them for. Male condoms come in many shapes, styles, lengths, widths and strengths for condom use. Most condoms offer contraceptive protection but there are also novelty types that are just for fun.

Female Condoms

Female condoms are polyurethane (plastic) pouches with flexible rings at each end. They collect semen and prevent the sperm from entering the woman's body. Female condoms can be helpful in the protection against many sexually transmitted diseases.

The Sponge

The sponge is a soft, round barrier device that is about two inches in diameter. It is made of solid polyurethane foam, contains spermicide, and has a nylon loop attached to the bottom for removal. It covers the cervix (opening to the uterus), and it blocks sperm from entering it. Although taken off the market in 1995 and then again in 2008, the sponge is now available as a reversible method of birth control.

Spermicide

Spermicide is a contraceptive method that immobilizes sperm. It can bebought over-the-counter. Vaginal contraceptives are available in several forms: spermicidal jelly, cream, foam, tablets, suppositories, the sponge, and film.

Personal Lubricants

Personal lubricants are specialized lubricants that help reduce friction during sexual intercourse. Water-based lubricants are water soluble, safe to use with latex condoms and are the most widely available personal lubricant on the market. 

Morning After Pill

OTC morning after pill

Plan B One-Step (and its two generic alternatives, My Way and Next Choice One Dose) consist of one progestin-only birth control pill. These morning-after pills have be approved by the FDA specifically for emergency contraception, and are available OTC.

Pregnancy Tests

There are many different types and brands of home pregnancy tests, but they all work in the same way: They check a woman's urine for presence of hCG hormone. Blood pregnancy tests check for the same hCG hormone, only these detect the hormone in the blood and must be performed at a doctor's office. Learn about pregnancy tests, when to take them, and how accurate they are.

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