What Are The Different Types Of Birth Control
Women can choose from many different types of birth control methods. These include, in order of most effective to least effective at preventing pregnancy:
- Female and male sterilization Birth control that prevents pregnancy for the rest of your life through surgery or a medical procedure.
- Long-acting reversible contraceptives or “LARC” methods Birth control your doctor inserts one time and you do not have to remember to use birth control every day or month. LARCs last for 3 to 10 years, depending on the method.
- Short-acting hormonal methods Birth control your doctor prescribes that you remember to take every day or month. The shot requires you to get a shot from your doctor every 3 months.
- Barrier methods Birth control you use each time you have sex.
- Natural rhythm methods Not using a type of birth control but instead avoiding sex and/or using birth control only on the days when you are most fertile . An ovulation home test kit or a fertility monitor can help you find your most fertile days.
How Does Birth Control Work
Birth control works to prevent pregnancy in different ways, depending upon the type of birth control you choose:
- Female or male sterilization surgery prevents the sperm from reaching the egg by cutting or damaging the tubes that carry sperm or eggs .
- Long-acting reversible contraceptives or “LARC” methods prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs, prevent sperm from getting to the egg, or make implantation of the egg in the uterus unlikely.
- Short-acting hormonal methods, such as the pill, mini-pill, patch, shot, and vaginal ring, prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs or prevent sperm from getting to the egg.
- Barrier methods, such as condoms, diaphragms, sponge, cervical cap, prevent sperm from getting to the egg.
- Natural rhythm methods involve avoiding sex or using other forms of birth control on the days when you are most fertile .
In What Situations Can Emergency Contraception Be Used
Emergency contraception can be used in a number of situations following sexual intercourse. These include:
- When no contraceptive has been used.
- Sexual assault when the woman was not protected by an effective contraceptive method.
- When there is concern of possible contraceptive failure, from improper or incorrect use, such as:
- condom breakage, slippage, or incorrect use
- 3 or more consecutively missed combined oral contraceptive pills or 3 days late during the first week of the cycle
- more than 3 hours late from the usual time of intake of the progestogen-only pill , or more than 27 hours after the previous pill
- more than 12 hours late from the usual time of intake of the desogestrel-containing pill or more than 36 hours after the previous pill
- more than 2 weeks late for the norethisterone enanthate progestogen-only injection
- more than 4 weeks late for the depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate progestogen-only injection
- more than 7 days late for the combined injectable contraceptive
- dislodgment, breakage, tearing, or early removal of a diaphragm or cervical cap
- failed withdrawal
- failure of a spermicide tablet or film to melt before intercourse
- miscalculation of the abstinence period, or failure to abstain or use a barrier method on the fertile days of the cycle when using fertility awareness based methods or
- expulsion of an intrauterine contraceptive device or hormonal contraceptive implant.
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How Can I Tell If Ive Reached Menopause
The average age of menopause is around 51 years old. Once an individual with a uterus has gone 12 months without a period, they have reached menopause. However, this may be difficult to track if the individual is taking hormonal birth control. Some may choose to stop birth control once they start to notice symptoms of perimenopause for this reason, but this does not have to be the case for all individuals. If one does choose to stop taking birth control, they should use another form of contraception to prevent pregnancy.
How Does The Pill Change Hormone Cycles
The pill works by releasing steady doses of estrogen with no peak levels, so the ovary is not signaled to release an egg. It then delivers a regular dose of progesterone, to prevent growth of uterine lining. Furthermore, an egg is not released and the uterus remains inhospitable to implantation.
Some pill packs include placebo pills that are taken during the final week of a cycle to induce a bleed. This is referred to as withdrawal bleeding because it is the bodys reaction to a loss of hormones. When the placebo pills are not taken, hormones remain steady.
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When Should You See A Doctor About Perimenopausal Symptoms
While experiencing some symptoms is normal and common, a person with a uterus should consult a doctor if their daily life is negatively impacted. It is possible that their experience is solely related to perimenopause, but it could also be the result of other, more serious conditions such as fibroids, pregnancy, blood clotting disorders, or even cancer. Furthermore, speaking with a doctor is necessary in order to ensure that symptoms are caused by menopause and not something else.
The following symptoms may warrant a trip to the doctor
- Very heavy periods with blood clots.
- Periods that last much longer than usual.
- Periods that occur more frequently than normal
- Breakthrough bleeding between periods.
- Spotting and/or pain after intercourse.
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.
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Other Studies Have Found That Women On Oral Contraception Remember Emotional Stories More Like Men
Other studies have found that women on oral contraception remember emotional stories more like men recalling the gist more than the details. Theyre also not as good at recognising emotions in others, such as anger, sadness, or disgust just like men. It looks suspiciously like certain types of pill are masculinising womens brains.
Women on contraceptive pills arent as good as recognising emotions like sadness in other people which is more common to men
Its Actually Used For Doping In Men Sometimes Belinda Pletzer
Its actually used for doping in men sometimes, says Belinda Pletzer, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Salzburg, Austria. It helps build muscle, so its popular with powerlifters and boxers: the former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury recently served a two-year suspension after testing positive for the steroid in 2015
The hormone used by the pill is a close relative of an androgen that male boxers have used for doping
Weve known about these side effects for decades: the first progestin ever made, norethindrone, was androgenic.
Back in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, pregnant women sometimes took norethindrone in large doses to help prevent miscarriage. But the hormone also caused some unsettling changes to their bodies.
The women were sweatier, hairier and spottier. Some noticed that their voices had deepened. Nearly one in five baby girls born to mothers taking it had masculinised genitals. Some of these unlucky children required surgery.
Today androgenic progestins are much less androgenic. The doses in contraceptive pills are much smaller, and the hormones are usually combined with synthetic oestrogen, which cancels out many of the masculine effects on our bodies.
But there are some side effects.
More recent types of contraceptive pill are designed to be anti-androgenic, often prescribed to treat acne or excessive hair growth
Even small amounts of testosterone can make some parts of the female brain get smaller and others to get bigger
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- How can I know which birth control pill is best for me?
- If I take progestin-only birth control pills, am I less likely to gain weight as a side effect?
- Is one birth control pill more effective than another at preventing pregnancy?
- Does one birth control pill have fewer side effects than another?
- Can I use birth control pills to skip having a period altogether?
Does Birth Control Raise My Risk For Health Problems
It can, depending on your health and the type of birth control you use. Talk to your doctor to find the birth control method that is right for you.
Different forms of birth control have different health risks and side effects. Some birth control methods that increase your risk for health problems include:
- Hormonal birth control. Combination birth control pills and some other forms of hormonal birth control, such as the vaginal ring or skin patch, may raise your risk for blood clots and high blood pressure. Blood clots and high blood pressure can cause a heart attack or stroke. A blood clot in the legs can also go to your lungs, causing serious damage or even death. These are serious side effects of hormonal birth control, but they are rare.
- Spermicides . Spermicides that have nonoxynol-9 can irritate the vagina. This can raise your risk for getting HIV. Use spermicides with nonoxynol-9 only if you are in a monogamous relationship with a man you know is HIV-negative. Also, medicines for vaginal yeast infections may make spermicides less effective.
- Intrauterine devices . IUDs can slightly raise your risk of an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies happen when a fertilized egg implants somewhere outside of the uterus , usually in one of the fallopian tubes. An ectopic pregnancy is a serious medical problem that should be treated as soon as possible. IUDs also have a very rare but serious risk of infection or puncture of the uterus.
Shifting To Regular Contraception
Following use of ECPs, women or girls may resume or initiate a regular method of contraception. If a copper IUD is used for emergency contraception, no additional contraceptive protection is needed.
Following administration of ECPs with levonorgestrel or combined oral contraceptive pills , women or girls may resume their contraceptive method, or start any contraceptive method immediately, including a copper-bearing IUD.
Following use of ECPs with ulipristal acetate , women or girls may resume or start any progestogen containing method on the 6th day after taking UPA. They can have an LNG-IUD inserted immediately if it can be determined they are not pregnant. They can have the copper IUD inserted immediately.
Fertility Awareness May Work For Committed Couples
Know your cycle well? All you may need to do is use a barrier method, such as a condom, during the days that youre fertile. Preventing pregnancy through fertility awareness can be done by tracking your cycle on a calendar, monitoring your cervical mucus, and taking your body temperature.
Fertility Awareness Pros: You can forget about prescriptions, devices, and taking hormones with this natural birth control approach.
Fertility Awareness Cons: Youll need to make a strong commitment to monitor your cycle. Even with careful attention, theres still a large margin of error because women can ovulate on a different day of every cycle, Newmann says. And because sperm can stay alive for up to six days after sex, you have to use a barrier method for six days before you ovulate. The failure rate for using a combined method of checking your body temperature, monitoring cervical mucus, and watching the calendar is high, about 25 percent, Newmann says.
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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.
How Effective Is The Withdrawal Method
Not very! About 22 out of 100 women who use withdrawal as their only form of birth control for a year will get pregnant. See the chart above for how this number compares to other methods of birth control.
Withdrawal is when a man takes his penis out of a woman’s vagina before he ejaculates or “comes” . This lowers the chance of sperm from going to the egg. “Pulling out” can be hard for a man to do. It takes a lot of self-control.
Even if you use withdrawal, sperm can be released before the man pulls out. When a man’s penis first becomes erect, some fluid may be on the tip of the penis. This fluid has sperm in it, so you could still get pregnant. Withdrawal also does not protect you from STIs, including HIV.
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Why Consider A Birth Control Option Without Estrogen
There are several reasons why you might want to consider a birth control option that doesnt contain synthetic estrogen. For some its a medical decision, as birth control containing estrogen isnt recommended for women who are:
- Over 35 and smoke
- Affected by medical conditions such as problems with circulation
- Prone to migraine with aura
For others, the decision to choose birth control without estrogen might be because of unwanted hormonal birth control side effects, or may be a lifestyle change motivated by the desire to go completely hormone-free.
Whatever the reason, if youre considering switching birth control methods, its worth having a frank discussion with your doctor about your contraceptive options to find the best method for you. In the meantime, check out some of the options you might want to consider:
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.
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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.
When Should Women Not Take Birth Control Pills For Perimenopause
While hormonal birth control can be extremely beneficial, it can increase the risk of blood clots in some individuals with a uterus. More specifically, it is recommended that those with a history of blood disorders, heart disease, and/or cancer stop taking hormonal contraceptives as they enter their late forties. This also applies to individuals who smoke.
Instead of using high-dose hormonal birth control to alleviate the symptoms of perimenopause, individuals with a uterus can try hormone therapies or low-dose birth control pills. With that said, there are pros and cons to these methods, so individuals should consult a doctor in order to determine the best path for their lifestyle.
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