With so many birth control options available, how do you know what to choose? The key is finding one that works best for your lifestyle and family planning needs. If you need birth control, or want to try a different method, make an appointment with Leonardo A. Longoria K., MD, at Longoria OBGYN in El Paso, Texas. When you come in for a consultation, he’ll help you determine the right birth control for your body and your personal needs.
Types of birth control
Knowing a little bit about each kind of contraceptive is a good place to start. Dr. Longoria shares this primer on a variety of birth control methods.
The pill is one of the most popular methods of birth control. It provides estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progesterone that regulates your menstrual cycle and prevents ovulation. Sometimes the pill reduces menstrual cramps and improves acne, too. In order for the pill to be most effective, it should be taken at the same time every day.
The patch is worn on the skin for one week at a time. Similar to the pill, the patch delivers estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progesterone to stop ovulation. You have to remember to change the patch weekly, on schedule.
The intrauterine device (IUD) is implanted into your uterus during a simple procedure and lasts for 3-10 years, depending on the one you choose. One type of IUD delivers hormones, and the other type is made of copper. To prevent pregnancy, they both change how sperm moves.
With the NexplanonⓇ implant, a tiny rod is implanted into your upper arm just under the skin. It delivers hormones to prevent pregnancy for about five years.
The birth control shot, Depo-ProveraⓇ, delivers hormones for three months. You need to adhere to a strict schedule every three months for it to be most effective.
You insert a small plastic ring into your vagina for one month at a time. It delivers hormones just like the pill or patch.
A vasectomy for men and a tubal ligation for women are considered permanent forms of birth control. They can be surgically reversed in certain circumstances, but there are no guarantees that fertility will return.
Condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, and the contraceptive sponge block sperm from reaching an egg. Condoms also protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
The morning-after pill can be purchased over the counter at a pharmacy. It helps prevent pregnancy after you’ve had unprotected sex. This should only be used in an emergency situation and shouldn’t be used on a regular basis.
What else to consider when choosing a birth control method
With so many birth control options, it shouldn’t be hard to find one that’s right for you. Here are some things to consider as you’re making your decision:
- Whether or not and when you want to have children
- If your birth control is permanent or can be reversed
- Marital status or number of sexual partners
- Effectiveness of each birth control method
- Your lifestyle and willingness to use birth control, such as the patch or pill, as instructed
- Whether or not you experience side effects and if they’re manageable
- Religious beliefs or other concerns
Any medical conditions you have can make a difference, too. For example, a history of blood clots could make it dangerous to take the pill.
To get birth control or medical care for any female reproductive health issues, make an appointment to see Dr. Longoria. Use our convenient online booking tool or call our office in El Paso, Texas.