Many women choose to use birth control for various reasons. While the main purpose of contraceptives is to prevent getting pregnant, it can also be useful in controlling period flow, cycle-related pain, and even clearing your skin. There are many different types of birth control, so let’s find which one is right for you!
1.) Oral Contraceptives (The Pill)
The pill is a daily medication that uses two hormones, estrogen, and progestin, to prevent pregnancy, although some pills only use progestin, and are prescribed if one has bad side effects to the other type. You need a prescription, and it is 91% effective with typical use. The typical pill schedule is a 28-day cycle, with 21 active pills that you take once a day and 7 placebo pills.
Pros: Can be stopped after the end of a cycle if desired, relatively cheaper than other options, doesn’t interfere with sex
Cons: Has to be taken daily, may interfere with other medications, no protection against STDs
2.) Intrauterine Device (IUD)
An IUD is a small, t-shaped piece of plastic that is inserted into the uterus. There are two options, the progestin IUD, which is hormonal and lasts from 3-6 years, and the copper IUD, which is not hormonal and can last up to 12 years. Both are more than 99% effective, and you need a clinic visit for a doctor to insert it for you. The copper IUD can also be used as an emergency contraceptive if inserted within 5 days after intercourse.
Pros: Extremely effective, doesn’t need everyday attention
Cons: Can be expensive, good chance of spotting for a long time after insertion, can cause problems if inserted incorrectly
3.) Birth Control Implant
The implant is a small rod, just about 4cm long, that is implanted into your upper arm under the skin. It can last up to four years, and is over 99% effective. You need to make a clinic visit so that a doctor can implant it into your arm.
Pros: Very effective, long term protection, doesn’t interfere with sex
Cons: Chance of irregular bleeding, can cause problems if inserted incorrectly, no protection against STDs
4.) Birth Control Shot (Depo Shot)
The shot is an injection of the progestin hormone which works to prevent pregnancy. It lasts for 3 months before you would need to provide yourself with another injection. The injection can be done for you by a doctor or can be done to yourself at home, and is 94% effective with typical use.
Pros: Only have to redo every three months, useful for those who can’t take estrogen
Cons: Does not protect against STDs, may have spotting between periods, not recommended for long term use
5.) Condoms: Male and Female
A male condom is a thin covering worn on the penis during intercourse to prevent pregnancy. No prescription is needed, and it is 82% effective with typical use. A female condom, or internal condom, is a pouch that you self insert before sex. With typical use, it is 79% effective, and also needs no prescription.
Pros: Protects against STDs, no hormonal effects
Cons: Less effective compared to other methods, possibility of it breaking