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Forms Of Birth Control Without Hormones

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What Are The Types Of Birth Control Pills

Heres How Birth Control Affects Breast Cancer Risk | NBC Nightly News

There are two different types of birth control pills. Both types contain hormones that prevent pregnancy.

  • Combination pills contain estrogen and progestin.
  • Progestin-only pills are also called the minipill. Theyre better for some women, such as those who are breastfeeding or have a history of blood clots and strokes and shouldnt take estrogen.

The pill comes in different dosing packets from 21-day pill packs to 90-day pill packs, to even 365 days of active pills. Traditionally, depending on the brand and dose, you take at least three weeks of active pills followed by two to seven days of hormone-free pills. This is called cyclical dosing. Most women have a menstrual period during the inactive pills. Some brands do not provide any inactive pills at all in the pack . With the 21-day packs a woman does not take any pills for a week. During this time, youll have your period, similar to what happens when taking the inactive, hormone-free pills.

Some formulations offer continuous dosing, which means you do not have any inactive pills, and a woman takes an active pill daily. Alternatively, extended cycle dosing is when inactive pills or breaks in the active pill regimen only occur three to four times per year. Skipping the inactive pills prevents menstruation. Your healthcare provider can discuss the best option for you.

What Are The Benefits Of Nonhormonal Birth Control

Nonhormonal birth control can come with a variety of benefits beyond lowering the risk of pregnancy during penis-in-vagina sex.

Nonhormonal birth control can have fewer side effects than hormonal birth control. This may be an advantage to people with some health conditions or other sensitivities. Its safe for people who smoke, too.

Individual types of nonhormonal birth control have certain advantages, as well.

Condoms, for example, are the only contraception that can protect against STIs and theyre available over-the-counter at many stores. Copper IUDs can prevent against pregnancy for a decade. And birth control gel can be used discreetly in the moment, without active participation from a partner.

However, keep in mind that certain nonhormonal birth control methods can come with their own risks and side effects. For example, spermicide could increase the risk of a urinary tract infection , while a copper IUD can cause irregular and heavy bleeding. You may wish to discuss these risks with a doctor.

Ultimately, the benefits and risks of nonhormonal birth control depend on exactly what youre looking for and which type you choose to use.

Theres no birth control that is healthier than all others. The right birth control for you and your health will vary based on your:

  • age
  • lifestyle
  • preferences

If you have a blood clotting condition or youre a smoker, the healthiest birth control for you could be a nonhormonal one.

Find The Best Birth Control For You

Thanks for checking out our list of types of birth control without estrogen! Weve only touched on some of the methods available and how they work, so if youre serious about switching birth control, its always worth discussing your options in full with your doctor. In the meantime, why not find out if Natural Cycles could be an option for you?

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Who Should Use It

The birth control gel can be used by many people with vaginas who want to prevent pregnancy without using hormones.

Phexxi is good for patients who cant use hormonal birth control because of some type of medical condition whether thats a history of cancer or blood clots, said Cross.

It can be a good choice if youre looking for a nonhormonal birth control option that:

  • doesnt have to be taken every day
  • is easy to start and stop using
  • wont affect your long-term fertility
  • can be used discreetly without your partners participation
  • can be used in the moment and at any time during your menstrual cycle
  • is safe to use multiple times per day
  • can be used with some other types of birth control

You can use the birth control gel as soon as your doctor clears you for penis-in-vagina sex after childbirth, miscarriage, or an abortion, according to the NWHN.

However, Planned Parenthood notes that there are some reasons you may want to avoid Phexxi, including:

  • you use the vaginal ring
  • youre pregnant
  • you have a history of urinary tract infections or other urinary problems
  • you are sensitive or allergic to the gels active ingredients

Its also important to note that Phexxi does not prevent sexually transmitted infections . You may need to combine it with another type of birth control, such as a barrier method, to reduce your risk for STIs.

What Is The Best Nonhormonal Birth Control

7 Types of Birth Control Without Estrogen

Theres no single best birth control nonhormonal or otherwise for everyone.

Finding the best birth control for you involves understanding the risks and benefits each type, as well as figuring out if it fits your lifestyle and personal preferences.

Looking at the effectiveness of each type of nonhormonal birth control can help you narrow down your options.

Avoiding penis-in-vagina sex is the only guaranteed way to prevent a pregnancy. However, that doesnt necessarily mean abstinence is your only option. Other nonhormonal birth control methods also work really well when used properly.

Heres a breakdown of the effectiveness rates of nonhormonal birth control, according to the , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , and other sources:

  • Copper IUD: more than 99 percent
  • Diaphragm with spermicide: 88 percent
  • Contraceptive gel: 86 percent effective with typical use, per the manufacturer
  • Male condom: 82 percent
  • Cervical cap with spermicide: 77 percent to 83 percent
  • Sponge with spermicide: 76 percent to 88 percent
  • Sponge alone: 76 percent to 88 percent
  • Fertility-awareness methods : 76 percent
  • Spermicide alone: 72 percent

You may be able to increase the effectiveness of some types of nonhormonal birth control by using them exactly as directed by a healthcare professional or using multiple methods at the same time.

Overall, the best nonhormonal birth control is one that not only meets your needs and preferences, but also a method you feel confident about using.

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Why Choose Nonhormonal Birth Control

Hormonal contraceptives, like the birth control pill and hormonal implants, change a womanâs hormone levels to keep her body from getting pregnant. They can be convenient and reliable. But they might not be ideal choices for some people for reasons like:

Whats The Best Birth Control

The best birth control is the one that most effectively prevents pregnancy and fits with your lifestyle. Generally, a male condom plus another form of birth control is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy.

What’s “best” among birth control methods differs from person to person. What’s right for you may not be right for everyone. And your needs may change over time.

Hereâs what to think about when choosing a kind of birth control:

  • How fail-proof do you need your protection plan to be?
  • How much does the cost matter?
  • How important is your privacy?
  • Do you have a regular partner whose needs you care about?
  • Do you need to protect against sexually transmitted diseases ?
  • How much effort do you want to make to prevent a pregnancy?
  • If you’re a woman, does it matter if your period is affected?
  • Will you someday want to have a child?

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Types Of External Condoms

  • Latex: The most common. Only water or silicone-based lubricants can be used with latex condoms .

  • Plastic : May be useful for those with allergies and can be used with oil-based lubes .

  • Lambskin: May be useful for those with latex allergies. They do not protect against STIs because of tiny pores that could allow viruses to pass through . You can use any type of lubrication with these condoms .

How Well Do They Work

How Birth Control Pills Work, Animation

How well a diaphragm prevents pregnancy depends a lot on whether you use it correctly. Six out of 100 women will get pregnant with the diaphragm if they use it perfectly every time. Most people make mistakes sometimes, so the typical rate is more like 12 to 18 out of 100. Thatâs more effective than condoms or other barrier methods, but less effective than sterilization, intrauterine devices , or birth control pills.

There are some risks that come with a diaphragm. The most serious one is toxic shock syndrome, a condition you get from a bacterial infection. You can avoid it by not leaving a diaphragm in for more than 24 hours. The device also can cause irritation or a reaction if youâre allergic to latex. And some women get urinary tract infections more often when they use a diaphragm.

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What Is The Minipill

The minipill is a type of oral contraceptive that contains pills that only have progestin.

None of the pills in the pack have any estrogen. The dose of progestin varies and is dependent on the formulation used in the birth control pill.

A minipill package consists of 28 pills, all of which contain the hormone progestin. It doesnt contain any placebo pills.

To maximize the minipills effectiveness, youll need to take the pill at the same time every day.

If you miss a dose even by as little as 3 hours youll need to use a backup method of birth control for at least 2 days to be on the safe side.

Theres a new FDA-approved progestin-only pill called Slynd. It can be taken within a 24-hour period and still not be considered a missed dose, unlike the current progestin-only pill.

Because this pill is so new, there may currently be limited information and access. To learn more about Slynd, talk to your doctor.

Does Phexxi Have Any Side Effects Or Risks

According to the FDA, the following symptoms or conditions are listed as potential side effects of using Phexxi:

  • Vaginal burning
  • Pain when you pee
  • Vulvovaginal pain

Phexxi isn’t perfect, and experts are particularly concerned about the 86% effectiveness. “It doesn’t give ideal contraception, so if you are going to be having frequent intercourse-and particularly if you are a young fertile woman-I would suggest speaking with your health care provider to get a more effective contraceptive,” Mary Jane Minkin, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School, tells Health.

There are non-hormonal birth control options that are more effective, Dr. Minkin says, like the Paragard IUD, which uses copper instead of hormones. “It gives them 99% effective contraception, has no hormones, and lasts for at least 10 years,” she says.

The side effects can also make Phexxi a less-than-ideal choice for some women. “Women prone to urinary tract infections or recurrent yeast infections should definitely check in with their doctor,” Dr. Wider says.

Overall though, Phexxi adds one more birth control option to the table for women, which is never a bad thing. “It’s a great addition for women who are seeking non-hormonal methods,” Dr. Wider says. And when more options are available, more women may use them to prevent pregnancy. As Dr. Levitt says: “Anything is better than nothing.”

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Birth Control Sponge Risks

Disadvantages of the birth control sponge include:

  • It may be hard to remove.
  • You can still get an STD.
  • Some women have a burning feeling or an allergic reaction.
  • Spermicide can irritate your genitals, raising your risk of HIV.
  • Leaving a sponge in place for too long could lead to toxic shock syndrome .

Pick a different birth control method if youâre on your period or if you recently gave birth, had a miscarriage, or had an abortion. You also shouldnât use the sponge if you get a lot of urinary tract infections or have had TSS before.

Whats The Difference Between Hormonal And Non

Hormonal Birth Control is a Bandaid : What you Need to Know

Before discussing these non-hormonal options, it firstly pays to know a little bit about how each contraceptive method works.

Hormonal birth control options work by introducing hormones to the body. Specifically, hormonal contraceptives commonly use both synthetic estrogen and progesterone . Both of these hormones are key players in managing the menstrual cycle.

Introducing these synthetic hormones to the body helps put the menstrual cycle to sleep, so to speak. Most options work by inhibiting the release of eggs . No eggs means no fertilization can occur. In other words, no pregnancy.

Common hormonal contraceptive options include:

  • Pills
  • Natural family planning

Condoms

Condoms are perhaps the single-most popular non-hormonal birth control method. Theyre great not only because they help prevent pregnancy, but also because they help protect against sexually transmitted infections, or STIs .

There are two primary types of contraceptive barriers: male and female condoms. Male, or external condoms, go over a penis while female, or internal condoms, are inserted into the vagina. Internal condoms may also be used for anal sex in addition to vaginal sex. A third type of barrier exists, known as a dental dam or oral dam. These dams are placed over the vagina or anus to protect against STIs during oral sex.

Barrier forms of birth control will not always prevent pregnancy and STIs. Instead, they merely reduce this risk.

Spermicides

Spermicides do not protect against STIs.

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Withdrawal As A Birth Control Method

Unintended pregnancy in one year of use: 20% typical use, 4% perfect use .

The withdrawal method involves removing the penis from the vagina before ejaculation . It does not protect against STIs. Couples who use withdrawal correctly each time may find that it works well for them . Perfect use can be difficult and the chance of pregnancy increases with typical use . Some research shows that pre-ejaculatory fluid can leak before ejaculation . If this happens, sperm could enter the vagina even with perfect use .

What Are Some Hormonal Birth Control Options

There are several types of hormonal birth control options available. Birth control pills are usually the most well-known and require the patient to take a daily pill at the same time each day. If remembering a daily pill is a challenge for you, or if you have a particularly busy or less predictable schedule, you may be better suited to other hormonal options. These include stick-on patches, which should be applied each week, vaginal rings, which are replaced each month, shots, which are administered every three months, or implants, which are placed below the skin or into the uterus and remain in place for several years.

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How Does It Work

Phexxi is a contraceptive gel consisting of three active ingredients: lactic acid, citric acid, and potassium bitartrate.

To understand how it works to help prevent pregnancy, lets go back to the acids and bases of high school chemistry class. The vagina is naturally acidic, with a pH around 4. Semen is basic, with a pH around 7.5.

Normally when semen enters the vagina, it temporarily causes the pH to become more basic to ensure the survival of sperm. However, the three ingredients in the gel keep the vagina acidic. This helps immobilize sperm to keep them from swimming up the vaginal canal and through the cervix to reach and fertilize an egg. The gel also coats the cervix, which may prevent sperm from reaching the uterus.

Types Of Nonhormonal Birth Control

Pharmacology MENSTRUAL CYCLE AND HORMONAL CONTRACEPTIVES (MADE EASY)

Your chances of getting pregnant in a given year vary widely depending on the birth control method, from less than 1 in 100 for copper T IUDs to more than 1 in 4 for spermicides.

Barrier methods

  • What is it? A saucer-shaped silicone cup that you put into your vagina to block semen from entering your womb. You must be fitted for a diaphragm at first by your doctor.
  • How well does it work? If you use the diaphragm correctly and add spermicide, you have a 6% chance of getting pregnant after a yearâs use. But the odds double if you donât always use it or donât use it exactly right, the way a typical person does.
  • Pros and cons. You can carry your diaphragm and put it in just before you have sex. Itâs reusable for 12 months. If you decide you want to start a family, stop using it. A diaphragm wonât protect you from STDs. You have to leave it in for at least 8 hours after sex. You also may be more likely to get vaginal or urinary tract infections. Learn about the best ways to prevent a UTI.

Cervical cap

Sponge

Copper IUD

Spermicide

Vaginal gel

Male condom

Female condom

Surgical methods

Sterilization

Behavioral methods

Outercourse and the pull-out method

Natural family planning

Show Sources

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There Is No Best Birth Control

Verma says that healthcare providers have changed the way they talk to their patients about choosing birth control. “When the long-acting reversible contraceptive methods came out, there was a lot of excitement about them and a lot of pushing of these methods,” she said.

But these days, Verma and her colleagues have largely shifted their approach toward talking to women about all their birth control options , and then helping them decide which one best fits their lifestyle.

What works for some might not work for others, Verma said. “No one can tell you what’s doable for you.”

This resource was created with support from Evofem Biosciences.

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