Every woman has a different focus when choosing birth control. Some want long-term contraceptives, while others know they want to get pregnant sooner rather than later. Choosing a birth control option that meets your needs can be overwhelming. So many different methods are available, each with advantages and disadvantages, which are important to consider before you make a decision.
When you come to CMC Women’s Health for birth control, you’ll have access to a variety of contraceptives. But which one is right for you? CMC Women’s Health has put together a guide to empower you with the information you need to make the most informed choice for yourself. And if you still need a hand, our experts are here to help.
Different types of Birth Control
Birth Control Pills 95% effective
The pill is one of the most popular forms of contraception. It prevents your body from ovulating. In addition to preventing pregnancy, it can be used to treat chronic pelvic pain and heavy bleeding.
However, the pill must be used daily for effectiveness. If you have trouble remembering to take medication, the pill may not be the best solution for you.
- Less painful and lighter periods
- Reduced acne
- Reduced risk of ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer
- Come in various types
- Slightly increased risk of blood clots, usually in people who smoke and women with a history of other medical conditions
- Needs to be taken every day
Rings and patches 91% – 98% effective
Like the pill, vaginal rings give you both estrogen and progesterone. You’ll insert the ring inside your vagina, keep it there for three weeks, and then remove it for a week. Your menstrual cycle will begin, and a new ring is inserted the following week.
The patch works similarly and has the same hormones. You place it on your skin and change it every week. You also remove it for one week out of the month so you can have your period and then place a new patch the following week.
- Can be applied at home and no doctor’s visit is necessary after the initial prescribing visit
- Does not hinder fertility
- Side effects such as changes in mood, breast tenderness, and bloating (though, they tend to go away after a couple of months of use)
- Need to remember to change the patch or ring
- Not good options for people who smoke, who have blood clots, or who’ve had cancer
- Not recommended if breastfeeding
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) 99% effective
Placed in the uterus by your physician, the IUD provides protection for five to ten years. It works by changing the lining of your uterus. It’s excellent for women who want long-lasting contraception. With several IUDs on the market, including brands with and without hormones, there are options to suit varying needs.
- Lasts three to 10 years before needing to be replaced
- Hormonal IUDs: Can make periods lighter or even nonexistent (copper IUDs do not have that benefit)
- Hormonal IUDs: May reduce the risk of endometrial cancer
- Upon removal, fertility is restored almost immediately
- Must be inserted and removed in a healthcare setting
- Insertion may be uncomfortable or even painful.
- Risk of perforating your uterus during insertion (though, that occurs in 1 of 1,000 women)
- Unpredictable spotting for several months after insertion
Injections 99% effective
Every three months, you’ll see your doctor for a shot of progesterone-only birth control. This method is useful for women who cannot use both progesterone and estrogen and it can also help women with heavy bleeding.
- Effectiveness similar to the pill
- May cause periods to decrease or even disappear
- Causes bone thinning (thought to be reversible once you discontinue the shot)
- Requires a doctor’s visit for the injection four times a year
- Causes weight gain in some women
Implants 99% effective
This progesterone-only method is highly effective. Your doctor will implant a small rod beneath your skin, and it prevents pregnancy for up to three years.
- Similar to those of hormonal IUD
- Inserted during a quick in-office procedure
- As with the IUD, can cause unpredictable bleeding.
- Could cause heavier periods; though, in some cases, periods are lighter.
- May cause skin irritation
How do I decide which birth control?
The truth is that there is no such thing as one perfect birth control method for everyone. There are many factors at play, like ease of use, cost, and effectiveness. The best birth control is one that fits your current lifestyle and that you will actually use.
Our OBGYNs at CMC Women’s Health are your best source to discuss all the benefits and risks based on all the factors. Take into consideration your health, lifestyle, short as well as long-term reproductive goals, and finally the financial means. Once you decide on all these factors, schedule an appointment with us, and let’s discuss your options. Together we can find the right birth control method for you.