Birth control can be confusing. There are hormonal routes, non-hormonal routes, medications, barrier methods, and even other more unique, and less effective methods such as the pull out method or the rhythm method.
If you are currently looking at all of the different birth control methods for you, then you may be overwhelmed.
Birth control can be a confusing and daunting thing to research. But, the first thing that you should figure out is if you want a hormonal versus a non-hormonal method. Every woman reacts differently to hormones.
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Some women may absolutely love being on the birth control hormone-based pills, but other women may become moody, gain weight, and feel depressed while taking these pills.
If you haven’t tried birth control pills, then your OB/GYN may suggest them first simply because they are the easiest. But, you have other options.
If you are looking for a hormone-based form of birth control, then you could choose from the pill, the patch, or even an IUD. These types of birth control are all taken differently and all have different pros and cons.
If you know that you don’t want a hormone-based birth control method, then you are a little more limited but you still have a variety of options.
You can choose from condoms or a various barrier method or a non-hormonal IUD such as a copper IUD. Both of these options have their pros and cons and have different levels of effectiveness.
Other non-hormonal types of birth control include the less effective rhythm method and pull out method. Both of these methods rely heavily on human error and are a lot less effective than birth control methods you can get from your OB/GYN.
Why Choosing and IUD May Be the Best Option
If you have already tried birth control pills, or simply know that you cannot remember to take a pill at the same time each day, then an IUD may be for you. Taking birth control pills is a responsibility that many people don’t want.
The pill has to be taken regularly at the exact same time each day. If not taken at the same time, then you could experience hormone fluctuations and ex-perience spotting and menstrual irregularities.
IUDs are vastly different from birth control pills. IUD stands for Intrauterine Device, and typically is a small device that is inserted into your uterus for birth control purposes. The device is T-shaped that can be inserted in your OB/GYNs office during a routine visit. A thread hangs into your upper part of vagina that can be felt easily to ensure presence of IUD.
Different Types of IUDs
IUDs can be hormonal based or copper. Both work by basically blocking the sperm from ever matching up with one of your eggs.
Hormonal IUDs work by releasing a form of progesterone that thickens your cervical mucus and inhibits a sperm’s ability to swim towards your egg. Together, these effects make hormonal IUDs 99% effective as a birth control method.
Copper IUDs work by causing localized inflammation. It is thought that these effects are toxic to both sperm and eggs and interfere with sperm transport. If a healthy fertilized egg reached the uterine cavity, implantation is inhibited . Just like the hormonal IUD, copper IUDs are considered to be 99% effective as a birth control method.
Pros and Cons of IUDs
Just like any other type of birth control, there are pros and cons to IUDs. One of the biggest pros is their effectiveness as a birth control method. IUDs are 99% effective, which makes them the most effective method of birth control after abstinence.
Another pro is that you can choose between a hormonal version or a non-hormonal version to meet your own health needs. Lastly, some IUDs can even be used as an emergency contraceptive if you get one placed after having unprotected sex.
The cons of having an IUD for most women include the insertion and the slight risk of infection. The insertion occurs in your doctor’s office and typically takes less than 5 minutes.
While it may be slightly painful, many women compare it to really bad menstrual cramping. The insertion is typically easier if you have had children before.
Another con of having an IUD is that they do carry just a slightly higher risk of infection than if you didn’t have an IUD.
Women can feel for the IUD-thread in upper part of vagina. Missing thread may indicate pregnancy, expulsion or perforation of uterus.
This risk is very minor, but women should be aware of any excessive pelvic pain, fevers, or odd discharge they have if they have an IUD.
Condoms and Their Effectiveness
If you just don’t want to use a prescription birth control, then condoms are still a good option. Condoms are the only birth control method that protects against STDs and pregnancy at the same time.
However, condoms are only about 98% effective if used perfectly every single time you had sex.
It is estimated that condoms are actually around 85% effective due to misuse, not using them each time you have sex, and storing them in hot areas.
When you think of this number, you may see why most women choose to use condoms for protection against STDs and then another form of birth control to prevent pregnancy.
Pros and Cons of Condoms
Just like IUDs and other birth control methods, condoms do have their pros and cons. They are cheap, can be found almost anywhere, and have multiple different styles and types to choose from for both female and male pleasure.
But, on the other hand, they aren’t super effective unless you use them absolutely correctly and always use a condom. The proper way to use a condom is to first store them in a cool, dry place and to start using them during foreplay as well as sex.
There are so many options on the market today for birth control. If you are thinking about starting to use birth control or are thinking of switching your birth control method then definitely talk with your OB/GYN. They will have the best information for you about your birth control options for your own body.
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- Gynecology by Ten Teachers 20th edition p79