We’ve all had to make certain decisions for desperate times. That’s why many women have had to adopt birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Of course, deciding on the best method of contraceptive is a personal decision. There are varieties of birth control methods to suit everyone, ranging from hormonal and non-hormonal to long-term use and single-use. They all work effectively if used correctly.
Before choosing an option, you have to weigh it with your doctor and partner. There are also some factors to consider when choosing a birth control method such as;
- The effectiveness of the option.
- How safe is the option?
- Your health.
- Desire to have a child in the future.
- Sexual activeness.
- The number of sexual partners you have.
The hormonal birth control method
The hormonal implant is like a small rod placed inside of the upper arm by a medical practitioner. It’s for long-term use; it can last for 3 years. It is ideal for women who do not want to get pregnant for a while. It can cause an irregular period and it may stop it entirely (amenorrhoea). An implant is not harmful but it can cause bruising and tenderness in the area surrounding the implant. You should be careful of the medications you take when you have an implant on, as they can make it less effective.
If you have a liver tumor, liver disease, breast cancer, stroke, or history of heart disease, you might not be eligible for an implant. it is safe to use while breastfeeding and your period would return to normal after removing the implant.
Birth control pills release hormones that stop the ovaries from releasing eggs. The pills thicken the cervical mucus so the sperm won’t reach the egg. They are a combination of hormones like estrogen and progestin. They are usually effective if used effectively. The pills are to be taken every day.
Birth control pills are also used to manage the symptoms of PMS like cramping, acne, and excessive bleeding. They are also used to treat endometrial and ovarian cancer, however; they may increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Some of the side effects of using birth control pills include; weight gain, mood swings, nausea, and breast tenderness.
3. The Shot
The hormonal shot is an injection given on the arm or hip. it releases progestin in the body and lasts 3 months. it can be used instead of contraceptive pills. The injection has side effects that last as long as the injection is in the bloodstream. Some of the side effects include; mood swings, headaches, irregular periods, etc. it also affects natural estrogen levels, causing no thinning.
A hormonal patch is usually worn like a sticker on the skin; it also releases estrogen and progestin into the skin. It might not be effective for people who weigh more than 198 pounds. The patch is must be changed every week but should be used for 21 days after which you won’t use it for a week. it also protects against womb and ovarian cancer. However, it can increase blood pressure.
5. Vaginal Ring
It’s a small flexible ring that is placed and left in the vagina for 3 weeks. It works the same way as pills and hormonal patches by releasing hormones to stop the ovary from releasing eggs and thickening the cervical mucus. Although it does not interrupt sex, it prevents sperm from getting to the uterus. People who have had breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and blood clot might not be suitable to use vaginal rings.
Note: Hormonal birth control can never protect you from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Natural or non-hormonal birth control
Abstinence: This is the most effective birth control. It involves avoiding sexual activities at involve the sperm getting into the vagina. Abstinence is free and does not have any hormonal side effects. it is also the best way to protect yourself from STIs.
Spermicide: Spermicide is used to prevent pregnancy by killing sperm. It can be in the form of cream, gel, cream, or tablet. It is more effective when used in combination with other methods like diagrams or condoms. Spermicide does not affect hormones but it can cause allergic reactions or irritation.
Diaphragm: Diaphragm is a barrier method used along with spermicide. It is a shallow latex cup inserted into the vagina to prevent pregnancy. It should stay in the body for 6 hours after having sex. However, it should not stay more than 24 hours in the body. Some of the side effects of using a diaphragm include allergic reaction, toxic shock syndrome, cystitis, and the risk of getting a UTI.
The diaphragm is more effective in women who have never had a baby. Each time you gain or lose weight, you would need to get another one fitted. It would be less effective if it is damaged or if it is not the right size.
Using a diaphragm alone won’t protect you from STIs unless you use it along with a condom. If you’ve had a prolapsed bladder, urinary tract infection, or sensitivity to latex, you might not be suitable for a diaphragm.
Fertility Awareness: Fertility awareness is also called natural family planning. It involves tracking your cycle and avoiding sex during the ovulation period. This method is more effective if you can monitor the basal body temperature, cervical position, and cervical mucus. To effectively learn this method, you need the help of a specialist or medical professional.
It takes up to 3 months to learn this method, as fertility signals can fluctuate due to illness or stress. Natural family planning does not have any side effects but it does not protect against STIs.
If you are having irregular periods, you might find it difficult to track your cycle, making it difficult to adopt natural family planning. Also, if you have infections like bacterial vaginitis or STIs, you would have to wait until you are cleared of the infection before trying natural family planning.
Lactational Amenorrhoea Methods(LAM): This is also known as the breastfeeding method. It is when breastfeeding is used as a form of contraceptive as women do not menstruate while breastfeeding. As long as you are not seeing any sign of menstruation after giving birth, you can use this method for six months.
However, it is not a guaranteed method. It only works if you are doing exclusive breastfeeding, it delays ovulation. It is recommended to combine LAM with other methods to effectively prevent pregnancy.
Condoms: Condom prevents sperm from reaching the female eggs. There are male and female condoms. The male ones are external while the female ones are internal. They are made from latex and offer protection against STIs. You can combine a condom with spermicide to increase its effectiveness.
If you are allergic to latex, you might react to condoms. Also, condoms are prone to tear if not worn properly
Withdrawal Method: Withdrawal method is also known as the pull-out method. it involves pulling the penis out of the vagina before ejaculation. it is not a 100 percent effective method as pregnancy can occur from pre-ejaculation.
outercourse: outer course involves engaging in sexual activities without vaginal penetration. you can engage in oral, anal sex, masturbation, or manual stimulation. This method is one of the effective ways to prevent pregnancy because there is no exchange of semen.
This method is difficult to adhere to and it does not protect one from STIs.
Cervical Cap: The cervical cap is a thin latex dome inserted into the vaginal to cover the cervix. it is safe to use this method while breastfeeding. It can be hard to put in place so you might need a doctor to show you how to fit it in place. The cap must be in place for six hours after sex.
it does not protect against STIs and it can interrupt sex. Some of the side effects include abnormal Pap smear, toxic shock syndrome, cystitis, etc.
Permanent birth control methods
Vasectomy: A woman can only get pregnant when a man’s sperm fertilizes her eggs. Vasectomy is called male sterilization; it involves an operation that stops a man’s ability to impregnate a woman. it does not affect erection and ejaculation but there would be no sperm in the ejaculation fluid.
Tubal Ligation: tubal ligation is the form of female sterilization. An operation is carried out by a professional to stop the fallopian tube from carrying eggs to the uterus. The operation leads to permanent sterility but doesn’t have any negative effect on sexual health. It also does not affect your hormones.
There are varieties of birth control with different effectiveness. The natural birth controls might not be as effective in preventing pregnancy as the hormonal ones but they do not have many side effects. Your choice should depend on what you want to achieve with it. Do you want a long-term effect or a brief one?
Before you decide to adopt any of the birth controls, ensure you get the advice of a doctor or professional. If you are trying to decide on the best method for you, get in touch with us at CribMD. We would commend the best method based on your overall health and preferences.