How Well Do They Work
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.
Some Not All Methods May Require A Guardians Consent
Depending on the method you want to use, you might need consent from a guardian if youre a minor. Laws on this can vary from state to state, so its important to look up the laws where you live or talk with a local healthcare provider.
For more about where you live, check out our comprehensive state-by-state guide.
Diaphragms & Cervical Caps
You can get your hands on a diaphragm or cervical cap at a pharmacy, drugstore, or health center, but youll need a prescription to get one. There are different sizes of diaphragms so a healthcare professional will need to fit you for one and show you how to use it before you can get started. Diaphragms are covered by insurance and are available for free in the UK on the NHS.
Pros: Insert it any time before you have sex . You can use the same one for a year before it needs to be replaced.
Cons: Requires fitting. Requires a prescription. Does not protect against STIs.
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Can You Make Contraception Part Of Your Daily Routine
If you’re a well-organised person with a reasonably regular routine, you have a wide choice of contraception.
This is because you’re less likely to forget about your contraception by forgetting to take a pill or reapply a patch, for example.
You may want to use a method that you only need to use when you have sex, such as the male or female condom, or you may prefer a method that you need to take every day, such as the pill.
Or you may want to consider methods like the patch, injection or implant, which you do not need to use every day or each time you have sex.
The list below shows how often you need to use, replace or take each contraceptive method.
Once you have looked at the list, ask your GP or a doctor or nurse at your local clinic for more details.
Methods used each time you have sex:
Methods taken on a daily basis:
- the pill , but there are some types of 21-day pill where you have a week “off” each month
Methods replaced every week:
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.
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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.
Would You Prefer Contraception You Do Not Have To Remember Every Day
Not all contraceptives have to be taken every day or each time you have sex.
You do not have to think about some contraceptives for months or years.
These methods need to be inserted by a health professional into your uterus or arm :
The contraceptive injection can be given 1 of 2 ways: either by an intramuscular injection into the buttock, or as a subcutaneous injection into the thigh or abdomen.
This is given every 8 weeks or every 12 weeks, depending on the type.
The subcutaneous injection can be given by a health professional, or you can be shown how to inject it yourself.
Other contraceptives that need to be changed or replaced every month or week are:
Other contraceptives used or inserted just before sex are:
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When Hormones Aren’t An Option
According to the Nature commentary, about one-third of women globally discontinue hormonal birth control methods within the first year of taking them, often because of side effects.
That was the case for Lenise Sunny Wilson, who attributes severe depression to the birth control pills she had been taking.
It completely changed who I was as a person, said Wilson, 38, of Tucson, Arizona. It messed with my emotions and my mental health so intensely.
Wilson has since stopped taking the pill and, for the most part, she said, has returned to her sunny self.
Some women, including those with certain cancers and heart conditions, cant take hormonal birth control. Erica Twidle, 33, from Gallatin, Tennessee, was diagnosed with a rare heart condition called peripartum cardiomyopathy while pregnant with her daughter, Della. The condition made Twidles heart weak and enlarged, and although she eventually recovered, Twidles doctors told her she shouldnt take hormonal birth control, or get pregnant, ever again. Both would jeopardize her heart.
Twidle, whod had a bad experience with the copper IUD in the past, decided to track her cycle. But nine months after having Della, she was pregnant again. I cried when I found out, she said. I was terrified. I had a child I needed to stay alive for.
Twidle calls herself one of the lucky ones, since her heart stayed strong enough to support pregnancy. But had things taken a turn, Twidle was prepared to get an abortion to stay alive.
Which Birth Control Methods Do Not Contain Estrogen
So, what can women who are unable to use birth control containing estrogen use to prevent pregnancy? The good news is that there are a variety of other birth control methods available, both hormonal and nonhormonal.
- The most reliable forms of birth control without estrogen are the copper intrauterine device , the hormonal IUD, the implant, and sterilization for women or men.
- Nonhormonal methods include the copper IUD, condoms for men or women, cervical cap, and diaphragm.
- Three progestin-only hormonal methods are safe to use: the minipill, the birth control implant, or the hormonal IUD. However, the birth control shot is not recommended for women who have poorly controlled high blood pressure.
If you do have high blood pressure, exercise and dietary changes remain an important component of maintaining your heart health. Discuss with your doctor which birth control options might be best for you, so that you and your doctor can engage in shared decision-making about your preferences.
See the Harvard Health Birth Control Centerfor more information on options.
About the Author
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Heres Exactly How To Find The Best Birth Control Pill For You
Thanks to the plethora of options at your disposal, choosing the right birth control can feel like youre blindfolded and trying to pin the tail on the contraceptive donkey. Even if you narrow your focus to just the pill, you still have a lot of possible choices out there. But if you do your homeworkand are prepared to possibly engage in some trial and erroryou can pinpoint the best birth control pill based on your needs.
Birth control pills that contain a mixture of estrogen and progestin are the most common type out there.
So, how do combination pills work to keep you pregnancy-free? During your typical menstrual cycle, theres a hormonal surge that triggers the release of an egg to potentially be fertilized, Justine P. Wu, M.D., a family planning expert and assistant professor in the department of family medicine within the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan, tells SELF.
overrides that normal hormonal surge, and because of that, theres no egg released, says Dr. Wu, who is also a board chair member of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. Progestin does its part by thickening your cervical mucus to make it harder for sperm to move and thinning your uterine lining, which makes it less likely for any egg that does get fertilized to attach to it.
- Your fertility should return pretty much immediately after you quit combination birth control pills, if thats of interest to you.
What Is The Best Birth Control Pill
Its no secret, everyone is different. Thats why, in order to determine the right birth control pill for you, youll need to have an open conversation with your doctor. There are many factors to consider when choosing a birth control pill, including your age, health history, how you respond to treatment, and your lifestyle and preferences. The journey to finding the best birth control pill for you can often take some trial and error and requires patience and honesty with your physician.
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How To Start Taking The Minipill
Before starting the minipill, talk to your doctor about what day to begin.
You can start using this pill on any day of your menstrual cycle, but depending on where you are in your cycle, you may have to use a backup birth control method for a few days.
If you start taking the minipill during the first 5 days of your period, you should be fully protected, and you wont need any additional contraception.
If you start on any other day, youll need to use an extra method of protection for at least 2 days.
If your period has a short cycle, you should use additional birth control until youve been on the minipill for at least 2 days.
All oral contraceptives have potential side effects, and they vary in intensity from person to person.
The Cleveland Clinic reports these side effects from the progestin-only minipill:
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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Okay What Is The Best Form Of Birth Control For Me
To discover the right type of birth control pill for you, you may want to start by considering what makes you unique. For instance, are there any past health conditions that put you at a higher risk of complications? What about current health issues and their impact on oral contraceptives? Are you taking any medications or supplements? Consider your lifestyle and preferences, as well, since these are part of your individual makeup.
Considering whats unique about you is one decisive way to ensure you start with the right question: which birth control pill is best for me?
Once youve looked at individual needs, turn to your highest priority birth control benefits. You may be interested in the pill for reasons beyond safe sex. Most women want to use a form of birth control that doesnt cause weight gain. Perhaps you care most about finding a pill that will help clear up acne. Or maybe youve always struggled with severe PMS and heavy bleeding, and youre looking for relief.
If your priority is finding the best birth control to avoid weight gain, you may look at a pill that contains estrogen.
If you want a pill that will help with heavy periods or acne, you may want to find a pill that contains estrogen. Maybe you want to minimize the side effects of higher-dose meds. If so, we encourage you to check out low-hormone birth control pills. Again, if youre over 35, a smoker, or at high risk of blood clots, the safest option would likely be a pill with no estrogen.
Does Breastfeeding Prevent Pregnancy
Breastfeeding can be a short-term method of birth control in very specific situations. The risk of pregnancy is less than 2 in 100 if all three of these describe you:1
- You have a baby who is less than 6 months old
- You exclusively breastfeed, meaning that you only feed your baby your breastmilk all of the time
- You have not gotten a period after childbirth
Talk to your doctor about birth control if you do not want to get pregnant while nursing.
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The Benefits And Possible Side Effects Of Non Hormonal Birth Control
Naturally, there are some benefits in switching. While hormonal contraceptives dont always come with more side effects , some people feel that they reduce their chances of unpleasant side effects by coming off hormonal birth control.
Its important to remember that not everyone who takes hormonal contraception will notice any side effects. The impact birth control can have on an individual is just as unique as the person themselves. But weve all heard stories about incompatible hormonal birth control, so what are some of the most common offending symptoms?
- Irregular periods
When deciding whether to try non hormonal birth control, its important to be aware of disadvantages that could come with it, too. Some methods may require proper planning , and others require discipline . Thats why its super important to find what works for you, which were here to help with!
One Very Popular Method That Is Not Very Effective: Withdrawal
Free and always available
Not as effective as other types of birth control at preventing pregnancy, but better than not using anything at all
Its difficult to do perfectly, so its about 78% effective approx. 22 pregnancies per 100 women in 1 year
Very large margin for error, as lots of self-control and trust is needed
Know that this isn’t an exhaustive list of pros, cons, methods and more! Want to chat with a #contraceptionexpert about birth control? Hoping to start or switch up your method? Give us a ring at 406-587-0681 or schedule online at Bridgercare.org/schedule!
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How Does Hormonal Birth Control Work
Hormonal birth control contains a combination of the female hormones estrogen and progestin or can be progestin only. Hormonal birth control methods prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation, increasing the thickness of mucus in the cervix as a barrier to sperm, and/or stopping fertilized eggs from implanting into the uterus. There are a variety of formulations and forms of hormonal birth control, including pills, patches, hormonal intrauterine devices , shots, vaginal rings and coils. Your reason for taking hormonal birth control, lifestyle, health issues and any side effects you experience may determine which method of birth control your healthcare provider recommends for you.
How Effective Is It
Natural family planning isn’t as effective as other methods of birth control. According to the CDC, the failure rate is 24%. That means about 1 in 4 people who use natural family planning will get pregnant.
You need to be careful, be diligent, and have plenty of self-control to practice natural family planning. You have to follow instructions completely to be successful.
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