There are several different types of birth control available to women looking to prevent pregnancy or who might benefit from the other health benefits of birth control. Below, we will go through the popular birth control methods available to women, and will also discuss who might benefit from each type of birth control. This article does not constitute as professional medical advice and is more of a general guide. If you are interested in accessing any of the birth control methods below, it is important to make an appointment with your gynecologist to discuss which options are available to you and will best suit your lifestyle and needs.
Hormonal Birth Control
Hormone based birth control is an easy birth control option for women. It involves taking a pill once-per-day, wearing a patch that you change each month, or placing a ring in the vagina which is replaced each month. Hormonal birth control does not protect against STDs or STIs. The patch and ring are better options among hormonal birth control if you are forgetful about taking a pill each day.
The hormonal birth control pill is one of the most common forms of birth control. Known most commonly as “the pill”, this prescription medication is a tiny pill that is taken one time per day at the same time each day. There are some different variations of the birth control pill, all of which contain some combination of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones prevent ovulation, therefore preventing pregnancy.
The patch works similarly to the pill, except the patch is placed directly on the skin so that the hormones are able to enter the blood stream. The patch is replaced each month, making it a better option for those that are unable to remember to take a pill each day.
The hormonal ring (NuvaRing) is a ring that is placed inside of the vagina. It works by releasing a low dose of hormones continually that work to prevent pregnancy. It is placed in the vagina for three weeks and taken out for one, allowing for a period. After that, a new ring is placed back in.
Intrauterine Device (IUD)
An IUD is an increasingly popular birth control option among women. This birth control option is a small device that is implanted inside of the uterus in a quick, in-office procedure. There are a few different types of IUDs, including hormonal and non-hormonal options. Depending on the type of IUD selected, it will be effective in preventing pregnancy between three and twelve years. IUDs do not protect against STDs or STIs. IUDs must be removed by a doctor, however they can be removed and the patient can very soon become pregnant if desired.
Non-Hormonal Copper IUD
The non-hormonal IUD is made of copper and slightly larger than the hormonal IUD. The copper IUD is beneficial to some women because it prevents pregnancy without hormones and it can effectively be utilized for up to 12 years.
There are a few hormonal IUD options available at differing levels of hormones and sizes. Some women may prefer higher levels of hormones in order to get the benefits (such as acne treatment and lighter or no periods) while other women may prefer a smaller size IUD. Hormonal IUDs are effective for 3-5 years depending on the type selected.
Birth control implants are another increasingly popular birth control method among women. Effective for up to four years, the birth control implant is implanted in an in-office procedure through a very small incision. Once inserted in the upper arm, the implant will slowly release the progestin into the body. Progestin prevents pregnancy and is 99% effective. This is a great option for women who don’t want to have to think about their birth control method. The birth control implant will be removed at its expiration date, upon which you can have another implanted if chosen.
Barrier method birth control includes male condoms, female condoms, diaphragms, and any other method of birth control that creates a physical barrier to prevent pregnancy. These methods of birth control are slightly less effective than the birth control methods mentioned above because they have a higher chance of not being utilized correctly by the individual. Barrier methods are important for protecting against STDs and STIs, and are often utilized alone or in combination with any of the birth control methods outlined above.
Learn More About Which Birth Control is Right for You
You and your gynecologist together can narrow down some options about which birth control method is right for you. This decision will ultimately depend on your lifestyle and medical needs. Dr. Quartell is here to help guide you in making that decision. Contact us today to learn more about the birth control options available to you in Livingston, NJ.