There are many reliable and safe birth control methods available for women today. While they all perform the basic function of preventing pregnancy, there are differences in delivery method, effectiveness, and side effects to consider. The caring staff at Hilltop Obstetrics & Gynecology, in Lebanon, OH, answers your frequently asked questions about birth control.
Common Questions About Birth Control Methods
Which Method of Birth Control Is Right for Me?
This is an important question you should discuss with a women’s health care provider. Factors to consider are safety, risks, cost, and ease of use. Be honest about your level of sexual activity and personal preferences and habits with the doctor. This will help you get the best birth control for your situation.
What Are the Main Birth Control Methods?
There are four main categories of birth control: barrier methods, hormonal, implants, and permanent options.
Barrier methods block sperm from reaching the egg. They may involve the use of spermicide to be effective. They include:
- Contraceptive sponges
- Diaphragm, cervical cap or shield
- Male or female condoms
Hormonal products deliver varying amounts of estrogen and/or progesterone to the body to prevent ovulation. They include:
- Oral contraceptives—pill or mini-pill
- Vaginal ring
Implantable devices are put in the body for a certain number of years. The IUD, for example, is placed inside the uterus in a painless outpatient procedure. They include:
- IUD (intrauterine device)
- Implantable rod
Permanent birth control methods are performed surgically and are usually irreversible. They include:
- Sterilization Implant
- Surgical Sterilization (such as vasectomy or tubal ligation)
Will Birth Control Protect Me Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases?
No. The only form of birth control that will offer some protection against STDs is the male condom. Symptoms vary between men and women, and some STDs present no effects at all. However, common signs to look for include discharge, pain, itching, swelling, or sores around the genitals. Pain during sex and frequent urination are also signs to watch for. Talk to a doctor about your concerns and learn to recognize symptoms of STDs.
Is Birth Control Safe?
There are advantages and disadvantages to all forms. Your personal health history will help you and the doctor decide which is best. Condoms present the least amount of issues, unless you have an allergy to latex. Hormonal methods are FDA approved and used by millions of women with few problems beyond mild side effects. Some health conditions or risk factors make the Pill unsafe, so make sure you talk about your health history and habits (like smoking) with a doctor. You may find you have an allergy to spermicides (used with barrier methods), but this is fairly rare.
Which Birth Control Method Is the Most Reliable?
At a certain level, birth control is only as reliable as how well you use it. But, IUDs are extremely effective, with only 1 in 100 women becoming pregnant. The Pill has a 90-99% reliability rate if you take it as directed. The Patch and Vaginal ring are also as effective as the Pill. Condoms, contraceptive sponges, and withdrawal are the least effective.
Women have more reproductive freedom today than ever before. There is a birth control method to suit every person. If you have questions about your reproductive health, the professionals at Hilltop Obstetrics & Gynecology are here. They offer full spectrum women’s health care, OB-GYN, and more. Visit their website or call (888) 424-0017 to book an appointment.