Are you confused by the sheer variety of birth control methods available today? Factoring in convenience, cost, hormonal or material sensitivities, potential side effects, as well as lifestyle and personal preferences makes the decision anything but simple. Here’s a summary of some common forms of birth control that may help you identify the right choice for you.
Hormonal Birth Control Methods
The birth control pill is an oral contraceptive that employs hormones to stop ovulation and prevent sperm from reaching an egg. It may lighten your periods, clear your acne, or help protect you from certain cancers, pelvic inflammatory disease, and ovarian cysts. Since you take the pill daily, there’s no need to remember to have it with you before sex.
The pill can only be procured from a physician or health clinic. You must remember to take it daily, as skipping a day can result in increased chance of pregnancy. The hormones have side effects for some users, including nausea, vomiting and spotting. The pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and the hormones in the pill are known to increase the risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.
The Contraceptive Vaginal Ring
This newer form of birth control is a small plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina, around the cervix, for three weeks of each month and removed for the fourth week. It releases hormones continuously preventing ovulation and fertilization.
The contraceptive ring can have both the positive and negative side effects of other forms of hormonal birth control, like the pill. Furthermore, insertion may take some practice, and remembering to remove the ring every fourth week can be inconvenient. The vaginal ring does not protect against STIs.