Millions of women are using some form of birth control, but how did they decide which is right for them? The sheer number of available options can be overwhelming. We understand if it’s tempting to simply go with whatever your friends or favorite influencers are doing, but we think there’s a better way to make this important decision.
Our team at HippoMed Wellness Clinics doesn’t want you to do what seems to be the best option. We want you to find the birth control method that actually is the best option. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of birth control from which you can choose.
These days, hormonal contraceptives are among the most common. This type of birth control prevents pregnancy by either stopping ovulation, altering the lining of your uterus to prevent a fertilized egg from attaching, or thickening the mucus in your cervix to stop sperm from reaching your uterus.
You have two main options when it comes to hormonal contraceptives: short-acting and long-acting.
Examples include the birth control pill, skin patch (Xulane), vaginal ring (NuvaRing), and contraceptive injection (Depo-Provera). We consider these short-acting because they only work if you remember to use them on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Long-acting methods are more of a hands-free approach to birth control and can last up to 10 years after they’ve been inserted. They include copper IUD (ParaGard), hormonal IUD (Mirena, Skyla, Kyleena, others), and contraceptive implant (Nexplanon).
If you’re feeling wary about using hormones to prevent pregnancy, non-hormonal options, such as spermicide and vaginal pH regulator gels (Phexxi) may be the best option for you. They effectively stop sperm from moving, so they can’t reach and fertilize an egg. Simply use these products right before sex for protection.
Barrier methods are known as the “old school” method of birth control. They include male and female condoms, as well as cervical caps, contraceptive sponges, and the diaphragm. In this case, the goal is to block the sperm from reaching your uterus.
If you’re looking for a product and hormone-free birth control plan, consider fertility awareness. This method involves knowing which days of the month you’re able to get pregnant and avoiding sex during those times. Often, you track your basal body temperature and cervical mucus to know when you can and can’t have sex.
We can walk you through what fertility awareness looks like, so you can make the most accurate decisions.
If you have no plans of getting pregnant, you may consider permanent sterilization options, including tubal ligation for women and vasectomy for men.
We know choosing the type of birth control is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some other frequently asked birth control questions.
When it comes to effectiveness, consistent and correct use is the name of the game. That’s why contraceptives that require little work on your part, such as implanted IUDs and sterilization, are associated with lower pregnancy risks. On the other end of the spectrum, barrier methods and fertility awareness that requires diligent monitoring are usually associated with higher pregnancy risks.
Side effects of birth control vary from person-to-person — some have a lot of trouble adjusting and others have no problems at all. Side effects are typically associated with hormonal contraceptives and can include:
Talk to us about any potential side effects that may accompany your chosen method of birth control.
There’s a birth control option for every reproductive goal. If you’re certain about avoiding pregnancy, a permanent option is likely the best choice. If you’re hoping to start a family in the near future, we recommend short-acting or barrier methods that are easily stopped or quickly reversible. If you’re somewhere in the middle, talk to us about long-acting methods that provide years of protection but can easily be removed whenever you’d like.
Male and female condoms are the only methods of birth control that offer any protection against STDs. Unless you’re in a mutually monogamous relationship and have been tested for STDs, we recommend that you use a new condom every time you have sex in addition to other methods of birth control you use.
For many, the deciding factor is all about the financials. Fortunately, you have just as many options. Some birth control options that require implantation or surgery may be more expensive. But you can easily find low- or no-cost methods, especially if your health insurance covers it. We can help you decide which option is the most wallet-friendly.
Still need help deciding? We’d love to talk with you. Don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone at either our Dallas, Texas, or Monroe, Louisiana, offices.