Who Is Phexxi Best For
âPhexxi is great for those who are looking for contraceptive alternatives, donât desire hormones, and are possibly not sexually active consistently,âJessica Shepherd, MD, ob-gyn, CEO and founder of Sanctum Med Wellness, told Health. Phexxi can be a good fit for those who arenât 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 canât use hormonal forms of birth control. âNot 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,â Dr. Wider said.
For women who use lifestyle methodslike fertility awareness of the withdrawal or âpull-outâ methodPhexxi may be a good addition to their routine, , an ob/gyn at The Womenâs Group of Northwestern, in Chicago, told Health. âAt worst, itâs 86% effective, but it could be much better if women are watching their cycle,â Dr. Levitt said.
Thereâs also this to consider, Dr. Wider added: âNon-hormonal methods would likely eliminate some unwanted side effects that women can experience on hormonal birth control like mood swings and weight gain.â If you are especially concerned about any of these things, talk to your healthcare provider about trying Phexxi.
Long Term Birth Control
Though most women choose to use contraceptive pills to prevent pregnancy, sometimes they just dont work very well. Some women have trouble with taking them because of the way they affect their hormones others simply forget to take them and then wind up at risk of getting pregnant. To solve each of these problems, long term birth control might be a great option. Here are a few of the best out there.
Effectiveness Of Nonhormonal Birth Control Gel
When used as directed by a medical professional, Phexxi is 93 percent effective, according to the company. But in typical use , its effectiveness drops to 86 percent.
That means it may not work for roughly 14 out of every 100 people who use Phexxi as their sole method of birth control.
Nonhormonal birth control gel has a higher effectiveness than that of a male condom, female condom, or spermicide, per the FDA . However, its less effective at preventing pregnancy than oral contraception, the patch, shots, IUDs, or surgical sterilization.
Using Phexxi with some other types of birth control can make the gel more effective, though. While it cant be used with vaginal rings, it can be used with:
While Phexxi doesnt come with the same side effects as hormonal birth control, it does have certain risks.
The most common side effects of the nonhormonal birth control gel include:
- vaginal burning, itching, or discomfort
- yeast infections
- bacterial vaginosis
- vaginal discharge
In clinical studies of the gel, a few cases of bladder and kidney infections were reported, one of which was serious.
With that said, side effects are uncommon, and when they do happen, they tend to be mild. Fewer than 2 percent of participants in clinical trials stopped using Phexxi due to an adverse reaction, according to the manufacturer.
You should not use Phexxi if you or your partner are allergic to the birth controls ingredients, which include:
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What Is The Best Nonhormonal Birth Control
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.
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.
That said, effectiveness is just one of many factors to consider when choosing a birth control. Some types, such as spermicide, can cause certain side effects that you may want to avoid.
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.
What About Side Effects
- The most common side effect is irritation of the vulva and vaginal area, such as a burning or an itching sensation. Nearly a third of women reported one of these symptoms.
- Less than 1% of women had more serious side effects, such as severe urinary tract infection.
- Nearly 10% of male partners reported some itching, burning, or pain as well after their partner used Phexxi.
Phexxi cannot prevent sexually transmitted infections , so women should continue to use condoms to prevent STIs.
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Which Type Of Contraception Is Right For You Right Now
Plenty of people have sex with no intention of having a baby, and there are more options than ever to prevent a pregnancy.
According to CeCe Cheng, MD, a maternal fetal medicine physician in Texas and a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, preventing pregnancy may not be the only or most important goal of birth control, either.
What Is Birth Control
Birth control is how you prevent pregnancy. There are many different types of birth control. Birth control only works when you use it correctly. Take the time to understand how each type of birth control works and how you use it.
If you’re sexually active and don’t want a baby, use birth control. A pregnancy can happen any time you have unprotected sex.
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What Are The Best Birth Control Options That Arent Hormonal
I need a contraceptive that isn’t hormonal. I’m allergic to condoms. I’ve heard a copper IUD can be painful or dangerous. What are my options?
If hormones arent your thing, you still have a few birth control options. But first, when you say youre allergic to condoms, are you sure youre not just allergic to latex? There are condoms made from a few different materials out there, like polyurethane and polyisoprene. If you havent tried those yet, its worth finding out if they work for you because condoms are not only a great non-hormonal birth control option, but they also help protect you from STDs.
The copper IUD is the most effective and convenient of the non-hormonal options. Like all birth control methods, it has some risks, but overall its really safe. In terms of pain, you may have some pain when you get it put in, but that goes away pretty quickly. Some people have heavier periods or worse period cramps with the copper IUD, but that also tends to taper off over time. Talk with your doctor or nurse about the copper IUD to find out if its right for you.
The diaphragm, the cervical cap, and the sponge are also solid non-hormonal options, but theyre a little more high maintenance than other methods. They require that you take care of your birth control in the time right before you have sex, which isnt for everyone.
Can You Use Iuds For Emergency Contraception
Yes, both copper-containing IUDs and progestin-containing IUDs can be used as a form of emergency contraception when used within 120 hours of having unprotected sex. This is the most effective form of emergency contraception. The benefit of using IUDs for emergency contraception is that youre seeking a method of birth control and youre preventing future unwanted pregnancies.
Progestin-containing IUDs work by causing your cervical mucus to become thicker so sperm cant reach an egg. The hormone also thins the lining of your uterus, so menstrual bleeding becomes lighter. The copper-containing IUD works by stopping the sperm from reaching the egg.
How is it available?
A healthcare provider prescribes and inserts IUDs.
How effective is it?
IUDs can be close to 100% effective at preventing pregnancy when inserted within five days of having unprotected sex.
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Contraception Is Not Just About Preventing Pregnancy
Before jumping into efficacy, when we talk to patients about contraceptives, we first narrow down what they want out of it, she says. In women, birth control can also help lighten heavy periods, regulate menstrual cycles, and clear up acne, according to the Office on Womens Health.
Thats not to say that birth control should only be a concern for women. According to Meera Shah, MD, MPH, birth control is every partners responsibility.
Everyone should be counseled on all methods of contraception, she says, from birth control pills to vasectomies, regardless of their gender.
How Effective Are The Different Methods
The list below shows how effective each of the 15 different methods are, and how often you need to use them or think about them .
The effectiveness of each method is worked out by calculating how many women get pregnant if 100 women use the method for a year.
For example, if a particular contraceptive method is 99% effective, 1 woman out of every 100 who uses it will get pregnant in a year.
Some methods listed below, such as the pill, include the phrase “if used correctly”.
This is because people who use these methods have to use them every time they have sex, or remember to take or apply them every day, week or month.
If the method is not used correctly, it will not be as effective.
Contraceptives that are more than 99% effective:
Contraceptives that are 99% effective if used according to teaching instructions:
- symptothermal method of natural family planning
Contraceptives that are 98% effective if used correctly:
Contraceptives that are 95% effective if used correctly:
Contraceptives that are 92 to 96% effective if used correctly:
- diaphragm or cap with spermicide
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What Are Family Planning Clinics
Family planning clinics offer a range of reproductive and sexual health services to the general public. These include information and advice about contraceptive options. Clinic staff may also be able to prescribe contraceptive medicines, insert IUDs or contraceptive implants and refer people for sterilisation procedures.
Clinic services may have a cost so be sure to ask when you book an appointment.
- Find a Family Planning clinic near you using the healthdirect Service Finder.
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Hormonal Birth Control Provides Continuous Protection And Other Health Benefits
For women who want their birth control to be “on” all the time, there are many hormonal options that provide continuous protection against pregnancy. Birth control pills, patches, shots, and vaginal rings are considered short-acting forms of hormonal birth control, while hormonal IUDs and implants can provide protection for many years. Both short- and long-acting hormonal birth control methods work by releasing hormones that change the body’s chemistry to prevent pregnancy.
According to Verma, many women are drawn to hormonal birth control because it can be used for more than just pregnancy prevention. Some women with heavy or irregular periods including those with conditions like fibroids, endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome use hormonal birth control to regulate their cycles or reduce ovarian cysts, while others like the option of not having a period at all. Verma adds that women dealing with hormone-related health issues like acne or mood swings may also turn to hormonal birth control for help.
But hormonal birth control isn’t without drawbacks. “There are safety concerns, particularly with birth control methods containing estrogen,” Verma said. For people with certain health conditions like migraine disease, high blood pressure, breast cancer or a history of blood clots, Verma said, hormonal birth control containing estrogen may not be safe.
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Birth Control Options For Women Who Can’t Use Hormones
Although they are popular, not every woman can use, or wants to use, the pill or other hormonal contraceptive for birth control.
- Some women cannot use hormones at all because of health reasons, breastfeeding, side effects or a host of other reasons.
- Some may only need occasional pregnancy protection and prefer not to use a full-time birth control method.
- Certain women prefer to avoid hormones in general based on personal beliefs.
There are several birth control options that do not contain hormones, that are effective if used correctly, and that are usually affordable, or even free.
What Are The Pros
- You can choose to use a diaphragm, even if your partner doesnât want to use a condom.
- If itâs in correctly, you and your partner canât feel it.
- If you want to try to get pregnant, just stop using it.
- It doesnât affect your bodyâs natural hormones.
- You can use it while youâre breastfeeding.
- Since you can put it in and apply spermicide an hour before you have sex, you donât have to interrupt the mood.
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Is Birth Control Bad For You
Most people can use birth control without any problems, though side effects are possible. And even though there are slight risks associated with hormonal birth control, these mostly depend on an individuals health conditions and risk factors. For example, heightened estrogen levels can increase the risk of blood clots in women with other blood clot risk factors like obesity, heart disease or age. Your doctor will take these kinds of factors into account during discussions about birth control.
Diaphragms And Cervical Caps
A diaphragm is essentially a shallow, bendable cup that sits in your cervix, kind of like a menstrual cup. Diaphragms arent condoms, so they dont prevent STIs, but when used correctly, they do prevent sperm from reaching an egg. Cervical caps work in a similar fashion.
Pros: At 88 percent, diaphragms are more effective than condoms.
Cons: According to Planned Parenthood, for greatest protection, diaphragms should be used with a spermicide more on this below.
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More Birth Control Methods
In this post weve outlined some of the non-hormonal birth control methods available to you. If youre interested in browsing the wider contraceptive landscape, check out our post on birth control options, where you can also see the history and effectiveness of a mix of different methods, including those containing hormones.
At Natural Cycles we believe in more contraceptive choice for all. This is because we are all different and require different methods to reflect our diversity. Our birth control app is just one of the non-hormonal birth control options available.
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.
For The Shorter Term: The Birth Control Shot
The depo injection, also known as the birth control shot, is a form of hormonal contraception that lasts for up to 13 weeks. Its an option to consider if youre looking for a hormonal birth control method that you dont need to think about every single day, but isnt as long lasting as the implant or hormonal IUD.
The injection is usually given in the buttocks, upper arm, thigh or abdomen by a nurse or doctor – although you may be able to give yourself the shot at home. With perfect use the birth control shot is also more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. However, with typical use its 96% effective. Check out our post on birth control effectiveness to find out more on the difference between typical and perfect use.
Why Do We Need Birth Control Choice
The chances are, if youve used birth control youll have your own birth control story to tell. From unwanted side effects to unexpected bonuses, your experience wont be the same as your friends, as all our bodies are different and we experience side effects differently.
What we want from our contraception also varies from person to person and throughout our lifetimes. For example, if you want to be sure youre protected from STIs, then condoms are a sensible choice, but if you want a method you dont have to think about for years, maybe you want to try a long term birth control option. This is why birth control choice is so important.
At Natural Cycles, were committed to broadening awareness when it comes to reproductive health and we also believe in promoting birth control choice. Natural Cycles is the brainchild of a scientist who couldnt find the right contraceptive method out there for her, so she invented it. Today were the first FDA cleared birth control app. Why not find out if Natural Cycles could work for you?
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