Birth Control Options
Birth control is any method used to prevent unwanted pregnancies. There are many options available, especially for women. Men’s birth control methods are scarce.
You can choose the birth control method that is best for you and your plans. Some birth controls are better at regulating periods than others. Some birth controls have a higher effective rate than others. Some contain hormones while others don’t. Some even protect against both unwanted pregnancies and STDs.
IUD (Intrauterine Device) is one of the most effective forms of birth control. It has a 99% effective rate. It’s a long-term, reversible method. It’s easy to use because you simply go to the doctor and do the procedure. Depending on the type you selected, it can last up to twelve years.
It’s a small, T-shaped device that is placed inside your uterus. IUDs are divided into two categories – Copper IUDs and hormonal IUDs. Paragard is the only copper IUD approved by the FDA. It doesn’t contain any hormones. Instead it’s wrapped in copper and prevent pregnancies for up to twelve years. Sperm doesn’t deal well with copper. Upon contact with the IUD, it will not survive long enough to get to the egg.
There are four types of hormonal IUDs approved by the FDA – Mirena, Liletta, Skyla, and Kyleena. These used a hormone called progestin to prevent pregnancies. Progestin is a synthetic progesterone which is a natural hormone the body produces. It’s vital in the implantation of a fertilized egg and maintains the pregnancy. These birth controls can thicken the cervical mucus which will block and trap the sperm. They can also prevent ovulation. They last from three to six years.
The vaginal ring also known as NuvaRing is more affordable than the IUD, but they’re only 91% effective. It’s safe and simple, but not long-term. It’s a small ring that you insert inside your vagina. It releases hormones that help to prevent pregnancies.
They contain both progestin and estrogen which are natural female hormones. The vagina lining absorbs the ring. Then, the hormones thicken the cervical mucus to keep the sperm out. It also prevents ovulation and fertilization.
The ring has to be inserted every month for three weeks. Then, it’s taking out for one month until the next one is inserted. It’s important not to skip months and keep the insertion and removal times consistent.
The patch is even less expensive than the ring, costing around $150. It is 91% effective which is the same rate as the vaginal ring. It’s a transdermal birth control which means you apply it on your skin and it releases its hormones through the skin. It’s applied for three weeks than the last week of the month is patch-free.
You wear the patch on the skin of your belly, upper arm, butt, or back. It also has the hormones estrogen and progestin. They prevent ovulation and fertilization. The patch can also be used to regulate periods, make them lighter and shorter.
It’s a birth control pill that you take once daily at the same time. There are many brands of the pills, but they all release hormones to thicken cervical mucus, stop ovulation and fertilization. It’s safe, affordable, and 91% effective if always taken on time.
They provide many health benefits like reducing acne, period cramps, bone thinning and iron deficiency. They can help make periods more regular and lighter. They also prevent pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
The pill is often ineffective because it’s the most forgotten form of birth control. Women forget to take it some days or at the correct time. Unless taken at the same time, it’s not as effective as the other methods.
The birth control implant is also known as Nexplanon. There’s also a version known as Implanon. It’s like an IUD. A medical professional inserts a tiny, thin rod inside your arm and you’re protected against unwanted pregnancies for the next four years.
It works the same way as many of the other birth control methods. Its hormones thicken the cervical mucus which prevents the sperm from meeting the egg and fertilizing. It can also stop ovulation, the formation of a new egg.
It’s 99% effective and cost the same as an IUD, about $1,300. It’s not permanent and can be taken out at any time. However, breast cancer patients cannot use it.
The diaphragm is a shallow, bendable cup that you put inside your vagina to cover the cervix. It’s made of soft silicone and should be used with spermicide. The spermicide has the chemicals that prevent the sperm from moving forward and reaching the egg.
The diaphragm is just like a condom. It needs to be inserted before intercourse, every time. It can be hours before intercourse, and it doesn’t require a prescription. It’s only 88% effective, but costs less than most of the other methods, about $75.
One diaphragm can be used for up to two years. Some women have difficulties inserting it. It can be pushed out of place during intercourse. Sometimes, it must be readjusted or refitted.
The cervical cap, commonly known as FemCap, is about 70-88% effective and has to be inserted every time you have sex. It costs about $90, and a prescription is required.
It’s a small cup shaped like a sailor’s hat made of silicone. It covers the cervix. Paired with spermicide, it stops sperm from penetrating the cervix and fertilizing an egg. It has no hormonal side effects and can last for up to two years. It’s similar to the diaphragm, but it’s easier to use for women who have problems inserting the diaphragm since it’s smaller.
It can be inserted up to six hours before sex. It’s less effective for women who have already given birth. It also cannot be used during your period.
The birth control sponge, most commonly known as Today Sponge in the US, is a small, round sponge inserted inside the vagina before sex. It blocks the uterus from sperm. It contains spermicide to stop sperms from penetrating the cervix. It also has a fabric loop to make it easier to pull out.
No prescription is required, and it costs about $15 for a pack of three. It’s about 76-88% effective. It can be re-used for up to 24 hours.
There are many birth control options available. It’s up to you to find the best one to find the best one for your needs. Consult a doctor before starting on any birth control plans. It’s also important to contact a doctor if you experience any side effects.