Why Do People Quit Birth Control
Aside from trying to get pregnant, some women stop taking hormonal contraception because of how it makes them feel. Its not uncommon for people to mention changes in their sex drive and their mood when taking hormonal birth control.
Its difficult to say whether those changes are due to birth control or other external factors that can impact mental health .
If youre experiencing any of these side effects, quitting hormonal birth control might provide you with relief.
Some Added Bonuses Of Using Birth Control Pills
Besides their relative effectiveness, birth control pills have actually been shown to:
- Help with the pain of Endometriosis
- Prevent Hirsutism or male pattern facial hair growth which usually happens in women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Eliminate most of the functional ovarian cysts in women using the pills.
These added beneficial effects, among others, are seen in people who have used them consistently for a long time.
But wait a second! Donât get all so excited yet. When you look at the whole picture, Birth control pills side effects take a toll on a womans health. Regular use of BCP makes her prone to serious problems in short term, long term, and also when she tries to get off them!
Choosing A Birth Control Pill
Combination hormonal contraceptives contain a synthetic estrogen and a progestin . Knowing the differences between the progestins and about estrogenic effects, androgenic effects, and progestational selectivity can help you choose a pill with minimal side effects.
To briefly explain how the combination of these activities may cause side effects, lets look at some specific combination of birth control pills.
Oral contraceptives that tend to have high androgenic effects and low estrogen activity, for example, are more likely to cause unwanted hair growth and acne side effects. Additionally, a progestin with higher androgenic effects may tend to produce less breast tenderness, bloating, and mood changes.
It is important to remember, though, that the majority of people using a pill with this combination do not end up developing acne this side effect is more likely to occur in those who have a tendency toward androgenicity. Birth control pills containing this high androgenic/low estrogenic pattern include:
- Loestrin 1/20 Fe
Since there are different types of progestins, they each have different potency in terms of progestational, estrogenic, and androgenic effects. The result of these effects is dependent on the combination of the type and levels of progestin and estrogen.
Typically, the balance between the estrogen and progestin in a pill brand may play a role in the side effects you are experiencing. Each person may respond differently to these components.
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Getty Images 8 Your Risk Of Blood Clots Goes Way Up
The estrogen in hormonal birth control puts women at an increased risk for a number of medical issues, says Masterson.
Theres a one in 1,000 risk of deep vein thrombosis , so if you experience calf pain, swelling of the legs, or shortness of breath, those are serious side effects that need to be addressed by calling 911 or your doctor, says Masterson.
Also, keep an eye out for signs of a heart attack, like pain in your chest, back, shoulder, arm, or neck and signs of a stroke, such as numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, a sudden, severe headache, or confusion.
Some women are more at risk for these conditions than others, like smokers or those with a family history. So, Masterson says itâs smart for women to have their blood pressure checked regularly, particularly after starting a new birth control, and to pay close attention to any alarming signs.
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Which Types Of Birth Control Help Prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections
Only two types can protect you from STIs, including HIV: male condoms and female condoms.4
While condoms are the best way to prevent STIs if you have sex, they are not the most effective type of birth control. If you have sex, the best way to prevent both STIs and pregnancy is to use what is called dual protection. Dual protection means you use a condom to prevent STIs each time you have sex, and at the same time, you use a more effective form of birth control, such as an IUD, implant, or shot.
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.
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.
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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.
Benefits Of Nonhormonal Birth Control
Whether youre on the pill, have a patch, or use a ring, hormonal birth control can be a total drag. It can cause annoying-AF side effects like bleeding between periods, boob pain, headaches, mood changes, and nausea.
Theres also a small chance that it could increase your risk of heart attacks, blood clots, or strokes.
You may want to opt for a nonhormonal method if you:
- have trouble remembering to take a pill every day
- dont want to change your bodys natural cycle
- experience bad side effects from hormonal birth control
- have certain health conditions like severe hypertension, heart disease, vascular disease, certain liver diseases, or migraine with aura
- Effectiveness: 99%
A copper IUD is a T-shaped piece of plastic thats wrapped in copper. A doctor inserts the device into your uterus through your cervix. Its more than 99 percent effective and gets to work right away. The copper is toxic to sperm, so it helps prevent fertilization. It can also prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall.
A copper IUD is a great choice if you want long-term protection it can last up to 10 years! It can also be used as emergency contraception for up to 5 days after you have sex without a condom or other barrier.
One downside is that insertion can be uncomfortable. Discomfort can range from a slight sting to WHY IS THERE A WASP IN MY VAGINA? But the entire procedure usually takes just 5 to 15 minutes.
- Effectiveness: 8598%
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Diaphragm And Cervical Cap
Unintended pregnancy in one year of use: 17% typical use, 16% perfect use .
Diaphragms and cervical caps are barrier methods that are both placed over the cervix and used with spermicide . Cervical caps are smaller than diaphragms and fit tightly around the cervix . Diaphragms stay in place by sitting behind the pubic bone . Diaphragms and cervical caps do not protect against STIs . Both are available in the USA with a prescription.
There is also a one-size-fits-all diaphragm, Caya . A healthcare provider may have you insert Caya during the visit and then perform a pelvic exam to make sure that it was placed in the right position . Water-based spermicide should also be used with Caya .
What Are The Kinds Of Non
Theres only one brand of copper IUD in the U.S. Its called the Paragard IUD. It lasts for up to 12 years.
You dont have to keep your IUD for 12 years though you can get your IUD taken out whenever you want. If your IUD is going to expire but you want to keep using an IUD, your nurse or doctor can replace it.
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What Are The Best Birth Control Options That Arent Hormonal
I need a contraceptive that isnt hormonal. Im allergic to condoms. Ive 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.
Is Birth Control Safe For Long
The short answer is yes, according to Dr. Yenbirth control in general should be safe for most people to use on a long-term basis, and some forms of birth control even have the possible benefits of lowering your risk of certain kinds of cancer. Its all a risk-benefit decision: How bad would it be for you to get pregnant? says Dr. Yen. Pregnancy has a high morbidity and mortality rate, can take away from your bone health and is taxing on the person who has to carry the pregnancy.
If theres an extended period of time in which you dont want to be pregnant, you should stay on birth control, says Dr. Yen. However, if you do experience severe forms of any of the above side effects or health risks such as blood clots or severe depression, you should bring this to your doctors immediate attention in order to switch forms of birth control or get off birth control altogether.
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How Do You Transition Off Of Birth Control
You can stop taking the pill safely at any point in your cycle, though it can be helpful to finish a pack so you can predict your next ovulation or period if youre looking to plan or prevent pregnancy. As for an IUD, it can also be removed at any point by your healthcare provider, though removing it during your period when the cervix is naturally softer could be a bit easier.
Your body is really resilient once you stop taking the pill or remove the patch or an IUD, youll likely get back to normal fast. As we mentioned earlier, the majority of former birth control users will resume their pre-BC cycles within three months and conceive within 12 months of trying to get pregnant.
As for the conception rates after use of each of the most common hormonal birth control methods, here’s a breakdown per one 2018 study:
- Ex-oral contraceptive users: 87.04% pregnant within 12 months
- Ex-hormonal IUD users: 84.75% pregnant within 12 months
- Ex-injection users: 77.4% pregnant within 12 months
- Ex-implant users: 74.7% pregnant within 12 months
What Should I Do If I Forget A Dose
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it, and go back to taking progestin-only contraceptives at your regular time. If you take a dose more than 3 hours late, be sure to use a backup method of birth control for the next 48 hours. If you are not sure what to do about the pills you have missed, keep taking progestin-only contraceptives and use a backup method of birth control until you speak to your doctor.
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Can You Make Contraception Part Of Your Daily Routine
If youre a well-organised person with a reasonably regular routine, you have a wide choice of contraception.
This is because youre 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:
- By Huma Farid, MD, Contributor
Until recently, people seeking hormone-free birth control have found few options available. The most effective and long-lasting nonhormonal option is the copper intrauterine device . Barrier methods sometimes are paired with spermicide to boost pregnancy prevention rates, or spermicides may be used alone . Apps and tests to track fertile days bring a high-tech sheen to the so-called rhythm method, but most ob/gyns do not recommend these as a way to prevent pregnancy.
Things To Think About
The exact time of ovulation can vary from month to month, even in women with regular periods.
The natural family planning method also works best if an expert teaches you how to monitor your temperature and cervical mucus. Reading this article probably wont be enough to teach you how to do this accurately.
This method does not work if you are also taking hormones as the hormones will affect the signs you are looking for.
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Spot On Period Tracker
Spot On is a period and birth control tracking mobile app available for Android and iOS phones that can help you stay on top of your birth control method and track your cycle. The app provides customized appointment reminders, and puts birth control and sexual health resources from the experts at Planned Parenthood at your fingertips.
Hormonal Birth Control Implants
A hormonal implant is placed under the skin by a health care provider in order to prevent pregnancy for up to three years. It releases a progestin-only hormone to stop ovulation from occurring and also thicken cervical mucus, similar to other hormonal options of birth control. The implant is highly effective at preventing pregnancy with efficacy of 99%.
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What Are The Health Risks Of Birth Control
Beyond more minor side effects like sore breasts, certain birth control methods might pose greater health risks you should know about. For example, a common health risk of hormonal birth control pills, patches and rings are an increase in the probability of stroke, blood clots, higher cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, says Dr. Tran. Though your risk of a blood clot with use of hormonal contraception is only about one in 3,000Womens Health. National Blood Clot Alliance. Accessed 3/29/22. and lower than your risk of blood clots during pregnancy.
The Depo-Provera shot may increase the risk of bone density loss with prolonged use though this loss is usually reversed when you stop the method. All hormonal methods have the potential to cause mood changes or worsen depression in some people. But in most cases, the benefits of birth control do outweigh the more rare risks.
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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