Understanding Your Birth Control Options

Understanding Your Birth Control Options

Women have many options when it comes to choosing a form of birth control. Learning about the available options and discussing them with a health care provider can help you come to the decision that’s right for you. 

Our team at Monarque Health and Wellness Center is here to provide guidance on choosing birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of birth control options. Our physicians and nurse practitioners are your best resources for learning more about birth control. 

The Monarque Health and Wellness Center team wants women to have the information they need so they can feel confident and make an informed decision about birth control. Gathering detailed information about available options is a good first step. 

Different types of birth control

The many forms of available birth control can be divided into two categories: hormonal and nonhormonal. 

Hormonal birth control works by changing your body’s balance of hormones so you prevent pregnancy. Some types of birth control keep your ovaries from releasing eggs. Without an egg to fertilize, pregnancy can’t happen. 

Other types of hormonal birth control thicken your cervical mucus so sperm can’t reach an egg to fertilize it. Different types of hormonal birth control may be more suitable for some women than others. Here is more information about hormonal birth control options.

Hormonal birth control options

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are over 99% effective and available as hormonal and non-hormonal options.

Hormonal IUDs: These very small, “T”-shaped devices fit into the cervix and release very small amounts of progestin, which causes thickening of cervical mucus. This creates a barrier that blocks sperm from reaching an egg. 

Nonhormonal IUD: ParaGard® is the only FDA-approved nonhormonal IUD. This 10-year, hormone-free option is made of copper and not only thickens the lining of the cervix, but also destroys sperm. 

Birth control pills: This is probably the most well-known hormonal option. Birth control pills must be taken daily to be effective. They prevent ovulation, which is the release of an egg from the ovary. In real world use, birth control pills are roughly 91% effective.

Birth control patch: This option involves wearing an adhesive patch on your skin for three weeks out of the month. The hormones are delivered through your skin. The patch is about 91% effective.

Birth control shot: Injections that deliver hormones are over 94% effective. This option involves getting one shot every three months, or four times a year. 

Birth control implant: The size of a small (1.6-inch) rod, the contraceptive implant is injected in the upper arm under the skin, and it releases a small amount of hormones. Effective for up to three years, this option is more than 99% effective. 

Nonhormonal birth control options

Nonhormonal birth control options are straightforward. 

Common nonhormonal birth control options are:

Nonhormonal birth control options block sperm in different ways and are up to 82% effective (with the exception of nonhormonal IUDs, which are more than 99% effective).

What to consider when choosing birth control

There are many things to consider when deciding which form of birth control is right for you. Maintenance is a major factor. For women who want a long-term, low-maintenance option, an IUD or implant may be ideal.

How long an option protects against unwanted pregnancy is also a major consideration. Women interested in having children in the very near future may choose a short-term option. 

Reversibility is also something to think about. Some options can be reversed quickly, and you can start trying to get pregnant immediately, while others take longer to reverse. 

Of course, you must always consider your current health status, any pre-existing conditions, and tolerance to potential side effects. Women with a risk of blood clots, for example, may need to choose a nonhormonal option. Your provider goes over your medical history thoroughly. 

Choosing birth control that’s right for you

The team at Monarque Health and Wellness Center can help you choose the birth control option that’s best for you. 

To get started, call 541-326-4777 to schedule an appointment at our Ashland, Oregon office, with one of our providers. Our friendly and knowledgeable team members are standing by. 

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