Hormonal Vs Non Hormonal Birth Control: Whats The Difference
In the United States, an estimated 99% of women aged 15 to 44 use at least one form of contraception during their lifetime. That could be one of many hormonal or non hormonal birth control options, so how do you choose? It helps to know the difference between the two. While non hormonal contraceptives contain you guessed it! no hormones, hormonal contraception can be made up of either a combination of estrogen and progestin or just progestin.
One further difference is that hormonal contraceptives tend to come with warnings about an increased risk of serious medical issues, whereas non hormonal birth control methods dont. The health conditions associated with hormonal contraceptives can include cancers such as breast or uterine cancers, heart disease, liver disease, blood clots in legs or lungs, or strokes, says Dr. Arumala.
Of course, all this sounds very scary. But its important to remember that if you are on hormonal contraception, the chances of developing these conditions are still relatively low, and the benefit of preventing pregnancy generally outweighs any risk.
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Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
Oral contraceptive pills provide patients with the option to prevent pregnancy. If the patient has medical conditions that put them at increased risk for taking combined OC or progestin OC, the prescriber should inform patients of many alternatives to prevent pregnancy. OCs are a choice made by the patient and her clinician after adequate counseling of risks and benefits. There are significant non-contraceptive uses of hormonal contraceptives, and these should be considered when counseling the patient about her options. Many OC formulations can provide menstrual regularity, treating both menorrhagia and dysmenorrhea. They can even be utilized to induce amenorrhea for lifestyle considerations.
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
- 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 intercourseand particularly if you are a young fertile womanI would suggest speaking with your health care provider to get a more effective contraceptive,” , a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School, told Health.
Dr. Minkin noted that more effective non-hormonal birth control options are available, such as the Paragard IUD. Also known as a Copper-T, the IUD is made of copper, which creates a toxic environment for sperm. “It gives them 99% effective contraception, has no hormones, and lasts for at least 10 years,” Dr. Minkin added.
The side effects can also make Phexxi a less-than-ideal choice for some. “Women prone to urinary tract infections or recurrent yeast infections should definitely check in with their doctor,” Dr. Wider said.
Overall, Phexxi adds one more birth control option to the table, which is never bad. “It’s a great addition for women who are seeking non-hormonal methods,” Dr. Wider said. And when more options are available, more women may use them to prevent pregnancy. As Dr. Levitt noted: “Anything is better than nothing.”
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What Are The Pros And Cons Of Phexxi
Pros of Phexxi:
- Side effects are usually limited to the local/vaginal area.
- May be covered by insurance .
- Phexxi does not contain hormones .
- No need to remember to take pillscan be used as needed before intercourse.
Cons of Phexxi:
- Phexxi is not as effective as other methods of birth control.
- Phexxi does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
- Some side effects may be bothersome.
- Patients with urinary tract infections or problems may not be able to use Phexxi.
Where’s The Demand For New Birth Control
The Roe decision amplifies the urgency.
With more open conversation about contraceptive needs, the next decade could be an exciting time for nonhormonal contraception, Lai said. These conversations, he believes, could help pharmaceutical investors see a real demand.
NIH funds early stage nonhormonal birth control research, but Johnston agreed that investment in the methods isnt where it needs to be. Products cant get to pharmacy shelves unless the biopharma industry steps in to fund drug development, but its difficult to determine how many women want hormone-free birth control options. Pharmaceutical companies usually want to see clear demand before investing in a product.
Worldwide, there were more than 151 million users on the hormonal pill in 2019, according to to a report from the United Nations. Analysts say sales of all hormonal contraceptives made the global market for these options worth more than $15 billion in 2020 a value thats estimated to grow to more than $20 billion by 2030.
From a business perspective, the contraceptive market seems to be healthy and growing, reads a 2020 commentary in the journal Nature. Yet the demand from women for transformational change is not reflected as a reduction in sales.
Hormonal contraceptives work tremendously well, said Johnston. But they basically involve the changing of the expression of hundreds, if not thousands, of genes, to give you the effect.
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How Do I Get Phexxi
You need a prescription to get Phexxi. You can get a prescription from a doctor or nurse at a doctors office, health clinic, or your local Planned Parenthood health center. In a few states, you can even get a prescription directly from a pharmacist. You may also be able to get a prescription through the Phexxi website.
You may be able to get Phexxi for low-cost or free if you have health insurance. To find out more about using health insurance to pay for Phexxi, talk with your nurse or doctor, or call your insurance provider . Phexxi also has a cost saving program that may be able to help you save money if you have private insurance .
If you dont have health insurance, you still have options. Your local Planned Parenthood health center may be able to help you get Phexxi for free or low-cost. You can also check out the Phexxi website for more information about the cost of Phexxi.
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 .
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What If You Cannot Use Hormonal Contraceptives
Some contraceptives work by using hormones that are similar to the hormones women produce naturally. These hormones are oestrogen and progestogen.
Contraceptives that contain these hormones arent suitable for some women, such as those who have medical conditions like breast cancer.
Not all contraceptive methods use hormones. Some work in other ways, including:
How Much Does Phexxi Cost
Phexxi may not be covered by your health insurance. Without insurance, Phexxi costs $374 for 12, 5 gm of 1.8-1-0.4% gel*. You can save money on your prescription with a SingleCare coupon.
*Prescription prices change frequently. Search for Phexxi on singlecare.com for current prices before you go to the pharmacy.
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How Effective Is Phexxi
In clinical trials, Phexxi was tested for seven menstrual cycles and was about 86% effective at preventing pregnancy. Almost 14% of women got pregnant during that time. Following the instructions precisely will decrease your chances of getting pregnant.
You may be wondering if Phexxi is more effective than condoms. The answer is, it depends. With ideal use, condoms are 98% effective, but not everyone uses condoms perfectly every time. In real life, they are 85% effective at preventing pregnancy, slightly less so than Phexxi.
Nonhormonal Birth Control: The Basics
Whether youre searching for nonhormonal methods of birth control for medical reasons, or because you dont want to muck with your bodys natural hormones, there are many nonhormonal birth control options that can safely and effectively prevent pregnancy.
Of course, steering clear of sex altogether is the most effective form of birth control. But abstinence isnt the only nonhormonal option for birth control. Each method of contraception comes with advantages, disadvantages and varying degrees of effectiveness.
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How Does Phexxi Work
Phexxi differs from N-9 based-contraceptive gels because it uses L-lactic acid, citric acidA naturally occurring preservative, also known as Vitamin C! and potassium bitartrate to maintain an acidic vaginal pH level.1 In an acidic environment, sperm cells die off and are unable to fertilize an egg, thus preventing pregnancy.3
Researchers found that Phexxi was 86.3% effective in preventing pregnancy as a primary form of birth control.1
Phexxi can also be used in conjunction with other barrier forms of birth control including condoms, diaphragms, and cervical caps, shared Dr. Jane. Using a combination of a contraceptive spermicide gel and a barrier form of birth control would further reduce the risk of an unplanned pregnancy.
Another bonus? Phexxi can be used with Flex Disc during period sex .
How To Use Phexxi
Often when we think about contraceptive gels, the words wet and slipperycome to mind kind of like the slip n slide of BC options. But how the heck are you supposed to get a gel up there far enough to do the job?
The new generation of BC options is here, folks. Phexxi is actually delivered in a vaginal applicator: imagine a tampon, but with gel inside. This allows for a more directed approach, and the manufacturers say that their gel is designed to be bioadhesive, meaning that its a low-drip option compared to the older spermicides on the market.
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Birth Control Coverage Gaps Scrutinized As Reproductive Health Landscape Shifts
The Biden administration is responding, working to shore up reproductive health policies it can control in the wake of the Supreme Courts overturning of Roe v. Wade.
The departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury have redoubled efforts to ensure payers are covering as many birth control options as possible, including a pressure campaign calling on plans and issuers to provide access to contraception at no cost to consumers as required under the law. | AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
08/19/2022 05:00 AM EDT
Insurers and payers are inappropriately using a years-old FDA birth-control chart to limit access to novel contraceptives as the reproductive rights landscape shifts nationwide, consumer advocates and manufacturers said.
Plans are overly reliant upon an FDA birth control method chart intended as an informational guide for consumers to dictate which products theyll cover with no cost-sharing to patients, some manufacturers argue. Thats made it difficult for companies such as Evofem, which makes the on-demand hormone-free vaginal gel Phexxi, to get insurers and PBMs to cover the product though providers push back against the notion that theyre doing anything to restrict coverage under Affordable Care Act provisions.
These plans are denying women, not complying with what is a mandate, and they are making up interpretations to not provide women access, said Evofem CEO Saundra Pelletier.
Do you want to be the plan thats denying women? she said.
Women Report Better Sex With The New Gel Contraception
Based on questionnaires administered at baseline and at three subsequent visits, a significant number of women reported a positive impact on their sex lives with Phexxi compared with their previous method of birth control. At baseline, just 17 percent of study participants reported their most recent contraception made their sex life a little or a lot better than before. After at least one cycle of Phexxi use, 45 percent of women reported their sex life was a little or a lot better.
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Who Is Phexxi Best For
“Phexxi is great for those who are looking for contraceptive alternatives, don’t desire hormones, and are possibly not sexually active consistently,” Jessica Shepherd, MD, OB-GYN, and founder of Sanctum Med Wellness, told Health. Phexxi can be a good fit for those who aren’t interested in taking a daily pill or using a long-acting form of birth control like an implant, IUD, or ring, Dr. Shepherd said.
Phexxi may also be an important choice for people who can’t use hormonal forms of birth control. “Not every woman can use a hormonal birth controlwomen who are at risk for blood clots, hormone-driven cancers like certain forms of breast cancer and other gynecological cancers may be advised to use a non-hormonal method,” Dr. Wider said.
For women who use lifestyle methodslike fertility awareness of the withdrawal or “pull-out” methodPhexxi may be a good addition to their routine, , an OB-GYN at The Women’s Group of Northwestern, in Chicago, told Health. “At worst, it’s 86% effective, but it could be much better if women are watching their cycle,” Dr. Levitt said.
There’s also this to consider, Dr. Wider added: “Non-hormonal methods would likely eliminate some unwanted side effects that women can experience on hormonal birth control like mood swings and weight gain.” If you are especially concerned about any of these things, talk to your healthcare provider about trying Phexxi.
Should I Use A Fertility Awareness
Life stages or events that cause your periods to be unpredictable can make FABMs less effective in preventing pregnancy . You may want to consider other types of birth control, if any of the following applies to you :
You recently started having periods
You are close to menopause
You have just ended hormonal birth control
You have recently birthed
Your periods are unpredictable
Have a high risk of getting an STI
You are not able to avoid sex or use a barrier method during days with high risk of becoming pregnant
Your partner is not willing to participate in the FABM
If becoming pregnant would be dangerous to your health or be very damaging to your life, a more reliable form of birth control may be a better option.
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Eat Healthy Fats Instead Of Carbs
The first step to balancing your hormones is often overlooked but probably one of the most important. It has to do with nourishing your body. Your body needs various types of fats to create hormones. These fats are the building blocks of hormones, lower inflammation, and boost your metabolism.
In fact, healthy fats have the opposite effect of refined carbohydrates. A few examples of foods that contain healthy fats include coconut oil, avocadoes, grass-fed butter, and wild-caught salmon.
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Birth Control Sponge Effectiveness
Of 100 women who have never had a baby and who use the sponge in a typical year, about 14 will get pregnant. This means it is 86% effective.
Does the sponge protect against sexually transmitted diseases?
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Birth Control Pills Without Estrogen
Currently, there are no hormone free birth control pills. Scientists are working on developing these for both men and women, but none of them are now approved for use. However, for those who prefer to avoid estrogen, there are birth control pills that use only progesterone and not estrogen. This is known as the mini pill. Progesterone acts to thicken the cervical mucus so that sperm cant enter. It also thins the lining of the uterus, so that it cant support a pregnancy. In addition, progesterone partially suppresses the release of eggs from the ovaries.
The mini pill needs to be taken every day at approximately the same time in order to be effective. This can be difficult for many women to achieve. The mini pill is also less effective at preventing pregnancy than the combination birth control pill .
Accessible Medication Containers And Labels
If its hard for you to read the label on your prescription, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Certain pharmacies may provide medication labels that:
- have large print
- contain a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text into audio
Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a pharmacy that offers these options if your current pharmacy doesnt.
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