What kinds of birth control options are available?
The list of available birth control methods is long and somewhat complex. And to further complicate matters, there are numerous options within the options that you can choose from.
Birth control methods include permanent sterilization as well as temporary measures such as:
Hormonal Birth Control
This can include birth control pills, stick-on patches, vaginal rings, shots, and implants. They use hormones to stop your body from releasing an egg that sperm can fertilize. You may have to take some types of oral contraceptive daily while others last for months to several years after just one injection or implant placement. Nexplanon, for instance, is a small rod that’s implanted under your skin and provides effective birth control for up to 3 years.
Barrier Birth Control
This type of birth control forms a barrier designed to keep sperm from reaching an egg. Male condoms are likely the most often used barrier method. While female condoms are available, they’re only 80% effective at preventing pregnancy. The diaphragm, cervical cap, and cervical shield are barrier methods that fit into your vagina and must be prescribed by your physician.
Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)
These small devices are inserted into your uterus and prevent pregnancy by keeping sperm from fertilizing an egg. Some release copper into your uterus, which acts as a spermicide that kills sperm. Other IUDs release progestin into the uterus, which is a hormone that thickens your natural cervical mucus and prevents sperm from reaching an egg. IUDs are designed to prevent pregnancy from 3-10 years, depending on the type you choose and are considered 99% effective.
What is permanent sterilization?
Permanent sterilization for women involves a tubal ligation. This is a simple surgical procedure in which your fallopian tubes are clipped or blocked to prevent eggs and sperm from reaching each other. A tubal ligation can sometimes (rarely) be reversed. Most often, however, it’s considered permanent and only recommended if you’re certain you don’t want to become pregnant in the future.
Which birth control method is best?
The most effective birth control method often depends on your age, overall health, and a multitude of lifestyle factors. Dr. Pattamakom helps narrow your choices with in-depth education and counseling regarding birth control methods so you can make an informed decision regarding which option you’d like to try.