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How To Choose The Best Birth Control

Author
Sharon Brandwein
January 15, 2021

When you’re trying to find the best birth control, your lifestyle, future plans, and health history, all play a critical role in your decision. For example, if you have high blood pressure, it may be best to avoid birth control methods that contain estrogen. Estrogen can further increase high blood pressure, and that, in turn, can lead to a higher risk of stroke or heart attack. Moreover, if you’re busy, busy, busy, and always on the go, contraceptives that require daily follow-up may not be the best idea either. 

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to choosing the best birth control. There are so many available options to choose from, and trying to make heads or tails of it, can be confusing. Here’s a quick look at different types of birth control to help you weigh your options and give you a starting point for a conversation with your health care provider

Barrier methods

Barrier methods work just like they sound; they form a physical barrier to prevent sperm from reaching an egg. Popular barrier methods include condoms (for men and women), diaphragms, contraceptive sponges, and cervical caps. Of these barrier methods, male condoms are the most effective form of contraception, not to mention the best option for the prevention of STD’s.

Spermicides

Spermicides are a chemical method of contraception that both block sperm from entering the cervix and slows the sperm’s ability to swim. Spermicides are available in creams, gels, foams, or suppositories, and they are inserted into the vagina before sex. It’s worth noting here, too, that if you choose barrier methods like diaphragms and cervical caps, you must use them with a spermicide.

Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives

Intrauterine devices (or IUDs) and implants fall under the category of long-acting contraceptives. There are two types of IUDs hormonal and non-hormonal. 

Hormonal IUD - Hormonal IUDs release a tiny amount of the hormone progestin into the uterus. This causes a thickening of the cervical mucus, which impedes sperm’s ability to reach or fertilize the egg. A few of the more common hormonal IUDs include Mirena, Skyla, Liletta, and Kyleena. 

Non-hormonal IUD - Non-hormonal IUDs use copper to prevent pregnancy. Essentially, copper changes the way that sperm moves (so they can’t swim to an egg), and it impedes the sperm head from breaking through an unfertilized egg. Paraguard is the only copper IUD on the market. 

While IUDs remain popular because of the convenience factor (essentially, you don’t really have to think about it day after day or stop at an inopportune time to take precautions), there are risk factors that you should be aware of. IUDs have been associated with or known to cause, 

  • Uterine perforation
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Expulsion 
  • Complications with pregnancy (should one occur with an IUD in place)

Paraguard, in particular, has been cause for concern as more and more women continue to sound the alarm. Many women have experienced severe complications as a result of the Paraguard IUD breaking apart and migrating to other parts of their bodies, in many cases requiring surgery to undo the damage. These women are filing lawsuits against the manufacturers of Paraguard, claiming that they were not properly warned about the risks at the time of insertion. 

Paragard Video

Contraceptive Implant -Nexplanon or the birth control implant also falls under the category of long-acting contraceptives as well. This thin, implantable rod is relatively small (about the size of a matchstick), and it lasts for about three years.

Contraceptive Injection

Depo Provera is a synthetic shot of progestin that’s administered every three months. It’s important to note that failure to stick to the schedule will radically affect its effectiveness.

Short-Acting Hormonal Methods

Short-acting hormonal methods include the pill, the patch (Ortho Evra), and the vaginal ring (Nuva Ring). These hormonal contraceptives contain synthetic estrogen and progestin, which work in concert to prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation altogether and thickening the cervical mucus. While the patch and the vaginal ring require relatively little thought from day to day, you must remember to take the pill every day. 

There are many, many choices when it comes to birth control but making that choice can be difficult. Your best bet to weigh your options, consider your current lifestyle, health, and future plans, and then speak to your doctor or gynecologist. 

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We are here to help you and loved ones advocate for justice. Feel free to send us any questions you might have, either about an injury or the process for pursuing justice so we can help you exercise your rights.

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