Fortunately, today there are many methods to choose from, making it a lot easier to find a method that works for your lifestyle and your preferences. The problem: Having a lot of options can make choosing a method a little confusing.
As a top provider of gynecology services in Lewiston, Idaho, here at Catalyst Medical Group, we will help every patient find the safest and easiest method for them. In this post, we offer a quick overview of the most common methods to help you make an informed choice about your method of birth control.
Approved by the FDA more than 60 years ago, birth control pills (or simply “the pill”) are the most commonly used form of non-permanent birth control in the United States. Birth control pills contain hormones that prevent pregnancy from occurring. For the greatest effectiveness, you should try to take the pill at the same time every day.
IUDs are T-shaped, flexible devices that are inserted into your uterus through your vagina during a brief in-office procedure. Hormonal IUDs release hormones regularly to prevent pregnancy. Copper IUDs don’t use hormones. Instead, the copper makes the uterus an inhospitable environment for sperm. IUDs can stay in place for 4-10 years, depending on the kind you chose, and they’re among the most reliable forms of contraception.
Contraceptive implants are thin, flexible rods that are injected under the skin of your arm during your office visit. The rod releases hormones into your body over time to help prevent pregnancy. Implants usually need to be replaced every three years.
Birth control patches adhere to your skin, usually on your belly or buttocks. The patch releases hormones that get absorbed through your skin. Patches are replaced every week for three weeks and left off for the fourth week when you have your period.
Birth control injections are also available. These injections contain hormones to help prevent pregnancy. To be effective, you need to have an injection in your arm or buttocks every three months.
The contraceptive ring is another type of hormonal birth control that releases hormones over time to help prevent pregnancy. You wear the ring inside your vagina for three weeks and remove it for the fourth week when you have your period.
Diaphragms are a type of barrier method of contraception. Before having intercourse, you insert the diaphragm into your vagina, adjusting it so it covers the opening of your uterus (the cervix). Diaphragms need to be used with spermicide gel or foam to increase their effectiveness.
Condoms are the only type of birth control method that offers some level of protection from STDs. Most people are familiar with the male condom that fits snugly over the penis, but female condoms are also available. Unfortunately, female condoms are only associated with a 79% success rate on average, which means you have about a 21% chance of getting pregnant when using this method.
Sterilization includes both tubal ligation (for women) and vasectomy (for men). These methods are a great option for anyone who no longer wants to have children. While some types of sterilization may be reversed, reversal is not guaranteed, and these methods should always be considered permanent.
Contraceptives are only effective when used regularly, so it’s important to pick the method you’re most comfortable using. Some methods are more effective in preventing pregnancy than others. We can discuss these differences during your office visit.
If you’re ready to start or switch birth control methods, or you just want to learn more about these and other methods, we can help. Call our friendly staff to book an appointment with our team at Catalyst Medical Group today.