Contraceptives give you the control to choose when you want to have children. If you aren’t ready to have a child, contraceptives effectively prevent unwanted pregnancy. Among the many contraceptives on the market, they generally fall under two categories: hormonal and non-hormonal.
To determine which contraceptive is right for you, discuss the advantages and drawbacks of each type with a women’s health provider like the team at Monarque Health & Wellness.
Our experts offer the information and guidance you need to make the best choice for birth control. Lifestyle, medical history, and personal preference are some of the important factors to consider.
If you’re wondering whether hormonal birth control is best for you, we offer you a look at some of the advantages and drawbacks.
How does hormonal birth control work?
Your hormones play a key role in reproduction. These chemical messengers kick off the processes necessary to get pregnant. Your brain works together with your endocrine organs to release hormones that regulate things like ovulation, which is necessary to conceive.
Hormonal birth control works by raising the concentration of sex hormones in your body. This prevents ovulation, which means that an egg is never released from the ovary. Without an egg, pregnancy doesn’t occur.
Furthermore, the additional hormones tend to thicken cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to get into the cervix. At the same time, hormonal birth control thins the uterine wall lining, reducing the likelihood of a fertilized egg implanting there.
What types of hormonal birth control are available?
There are several hormone-based birth control alternatives available. Here are some of the primary options:
The birth control pill is the most common method of birth control, and for good reason. It's inexpensive, simple to use, and there are hundreds of different kinds to choose from. There are two forms of birth control pills: combination pills that contain both estrogen and progestin, and mini pills that contain only progestin.
Like birth control pills, the patch includes both estrogen and progestin and is absorbed by your body through a little adhesive patch on the skin.
The shot includes only progestin and is given once every 12 weeks, requiring less maintenance than the pill or patch.
Inserted directly into the vagina, the ring provides regular doses of estrogen and progestin.
Surgically implanted beneath the skin of your arm, the implant releases tiny amounts of progestin. Most implants work for several years.
There are two types of IUDs: those that include progestins and those that don’t contain hormones. Both forms, like the implant, can prevent unwanted pregnancy for several years before needing to be replaced.
Advantages of hormonal birth control
Hormonal birth control is very effective. When used as directed, it prevents unwanted pregnancy up to 99% of the time.
Also, because hormonal contraceptives thin the lining of the uterus, they tend to make periods lighter. This is a major advantage for women who regularly deal with heavy periods. Even if you don’t have heavy periods, lighter periods are more manageable.
Hormonal contraceptives can reduce menstrual cramps, which is helpful if you’re prone to cramping just before or during your period. You can even take hormonal birth control to skip your period altogether.
Some women experience premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a more severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). If you have PMDD or tend to experience significant PMS symptoms each month, hormonal birth control can ease your symptoms.
Drawbacks of hormonal birth control
Hormonal contraceptives aren’t the right option for everyone. They run a small risk of causing blood clots. If you have a medical history that puts you at risk for blood clots, it’s wise to discuss your options.
Hormonal birth control can also cause side effects. When taking hormonal birth control, you may experience:
- Changes in sex drive
These side effects are usually mild and tolerable, and they fade with time. Hormonal birth control may also cause some spotting between periods. As long as you’re aware of this side effect, it’s usually nothing to worry about.
Keep in mind that hormonal birth control doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
The women’s health experts at Monarque Health & Wellness are here to discuss the different types of contraceptives and help you choose the right one for you. Contact our Ashland, Oregon, office to get started in scheduling a visit with one of our providers. We’re ready to answer your questions and address your concerns.