Women’s health covers a lot of different areas, and contraception is one of the most widely discussed. With so many different options and reasons to consider—or not consider— certain options, it’s understandable if it feels a little daunting! It can be overwhelming to go into a doctor’s office and be given what seems like an endless amount of contraceptive choices. They all have their pros and cons, and then your friends share their experiences which only adds more confusion. How are you meant to know which contraception is right for you?
This article gives an overview of the different types of contraception and explains some of the factors that may influence your decision. For personalised advice, contact our team at Newbay Medical Clinic today.
Factors That May Influence Your Decision
When it comes to picking which form of contraception may be right for you, there are a lot of different things to consider. Before you research the different types of birth control and how each one works, it’s time to think about which type could potentially work for you. To do that, you’ll need to think about your personal circumstances and know where you stand on particular issues.
You may want to consider:
Do you feel like you could remember to take a tablet every day? If so, do you think you’ll be able to take it at the same time every day, without fail? If there’s a chance this could be difficult for you, the oral contraceptive pill may not be the best fit for you. Other methods, such as IUDs, contraceptive injections, or contraceptive implants may be more suitable for your lifestyle and personality.
2. Your Reproductive Goals
If you want to have children in the future, or want to know you have the option to, you may want a method that is quickly and/or easily reversible. This can be a barrier method or a short-acting hormonal method.
If you know you don’t want to become pregnant for a longer amount of time, a longer-acting form of birth control may work for you. Some options such as IUDs may last for a number of years before you need to replace or remove them.
If you’re childfree and want to know you don’t need to worry about pregnancy in the future, you may want to consider sterilisation. These methods are permanent and can involve procedures such as tying or removing the fallopian tubes to prevent pregnancy permanently.
3. Potential Side Effects
No medication comes without potential side effects. Some methods of contraception pose more side effects than others, and some may pose more potentially serious side effects. It’s important to consider your health history here as well, such as if you’re concerned about the potential for blood clots. Your medical history plays a large role in which forms of birth control may or may not work well for you, so ensure you have a conversation with your doctor about this before you make your decision.
4. Your Religious Beliefs And Cultural Practices
Religious laws and traditions can vary widely, and while some are more flexible, others may forbid certain types of birth control or the use of contraceptives altogether. Consider your personal convictions as well, and talk with others if you feel it would help you to make this decision.
5. What It Aims To Protect Against
The overall goal of contraception in women’s health is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. However, some birth control methods offer additional benefits such as protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you are in a monogamous relationship and both partners have been tested for STIs and had the results come back negative, this may be less of a concern for you. If you have a sexual relationship with more than one person or any person whose STI status you don’t know, a barrier method such as condoms is highly recommended.
6. Any Additional Benefits
Some hormonal birth control methods have additional benefits to accompany preventing pregnancy, such as the possibility of having a lighter and/or more predictable menstrual period. In fact, some people take hormonal birth control for these reasons alone! Some may offer you a decreased risk of contracting STIs or the chance of developing certain cancers, so these are highly important factors to consider as well.
The Different Types Of Contraception
There are many different types of contraception, and some are long-acting while others are short-acting.
Some birth control methods include:
- Contraceptive implants— A small rod is placed under the skin of your upper arm and stops your ovaries from releasing an egg each month. This method can last for three years.
- Contraceptive intrauterine devices (IUDs)— A small contraceptive device placed in your uterus. This can be hormonal or non-hormonal and can last for five to 10 years.
- Contraceptive injections— A shot containing a progesterone-like hormone that lasts for 12 to 14 weeks.
- Combined pill— There are many forms of what’s known as ‘the pill’, which contains estrogen and progesterone. It stops ovulation and needs to be taken at the same time every day.
- Mini pill— A version of the pill that contains just one hormone, progesterone, and also needs to be taken at the same time every day.
- Vaginal ring— A ring placed into the vagina that releases hormones into the bloodstream and stays in place for three weeks.
- Male condom— A later or non-latex covering put over the erect penis to stop sperm from entering the vagina. These are single-use only.
- Female condom— A loose, non-latex pouch that sits in the vagina to stop sperm from reaching the uterus, also single-use.
- Diaphragm— A silicone dome covering the entrance to the uterus that needs to stay in place for at least six hours after having sex.
- Tubal litigation— A permanent form of birth control where a clip is placed on each fallopian tube.
- Vasectomy— A permanent form of birth control to stop sperm from moving from the testes to the penis.
There is also emergency contraception commonly known as the ‘morning after pill’, which needs to be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex or in instances where other birth control methods such as the condom may have failed. You should not use emergency contraception as your usual method of contraception and only use it if and when necessary.
Women’s Health And Contraception From Newbay Medical Clinic
At Newbay Medical Clinic we’re here for women of all ages to support them through their health journeys. If your options for contraception are weighing on your mind, our professional and caring team is happy to discuss your options with you and help you find the best birth control method for you and your lifestyle. Whatever method you’re considering, or if you’re not sure where to start, contact our understanding and knowledgeable team today.