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4 Birth Control Methods That Aren’t the Pill

When most teenage girls (or older) decide to go on birth control, the method they usually chose is the pill. And while the pill is probably the most popular form of birth control, it’s not the only one. Women who want to go on birth control, and even those who already are, should know about the alternate methods in order to choose the option that’s right for them.

1. The Ring

The vaginal ring is a thin, transparent ring that you place in your vagina. Similar to some of the other forms of birth control, you keep it in for three weeks, then out for one week. You insert it similarly to a tampon. It’s 91 to 99.7% effective as birth control. It has a lot of common birth control side effects, but there is also a raised risk of heart attack and stroke.

2. The Shot

The Depo-Provera Shot prevents pregnancies and lasts three months, making it a good option for those who want something that doesn’t have to be done often. However, you do have to visit a clinic every three months. It’s also very discreet, since it doesn’t require any home supplies. And it’s 94 to 99.8% effective. Also, like with a lot of things, there are some potential negative side effects, including nausea, weight gain, and depression. 

3. The Patch

The patch looks like a square bandage that you keep on your skin. Basically, you switch it out every week for three weeks, then you keep it off the fourth week. It is 99% effective, but there is a risk of the patch falling off, in which case there are some steps you need to take. Therefore, you need to be careful where you place it. You don’t want it to be rubbed off by clothing, but some women like to keep it out of sight. Most of the side effects with the patch are common among medications of this sort, but there is also a possibility of skin irritation. 

4. The IUD

The Intrauterine Device is a small T-shaped device that is inserted into woman’s uterus by a doctor, and is a long-term method of birth control. There are two types – copper, which lasts up to twelve years, and progesterone, which lasts up to seven years. The insertion is moderately painful, so talk with your doctor about how to manage this. It is also 99% effective, though the copper is more effective than progesterone. The IUD also doesn’t affect your hormones like other birth controls. However, there is some risk of infection, as well as longer and heavier periods. 

So, while the pill may be great for some women, for others it’s worth looking into some of these other forms.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Photos: 1, 2, 3

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Irina Kovari

U Mass Amherst

I'm a senior marketing major at UMass, with a passion for writing and equal rights. I'm on MASSPIRG at UMass, drink too much caffeine, and eat too much chocolate.
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