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Birth Control

When choosing the best type of birth control method, you have many choices at your disposal. Many modern birth control methods have high rates of success, but the best method is one that is easy enough to use that you will always remember to do so. Keeping that in mind, you must always consider the side effects as well as the ease-of-use of each birth control method.

Most women use birth control to prevent pregnancy and plan their families. However, some forms are helpful in regulating menstrual cycles, cramps, and preventing ovarian cancer, infections, pelvic inflammatory diseases, and other gynecological concerns. In choosing the right method, you must select a method that addresses the problems you have.

Deciding on the Right Birth Control

When choosing birth control, you have several basic types available:

• Barriers
• Hormonal
• Intrauterine devices
• Sterilization
• Behavioral

Before you decide on what is best for you, you must answer some basic questions for yourself:

• Do you ever want to get pregnant?
• Do you want to get pregnant in the next 12 months?
• Do you have health conditions that birth control medications can help treat?

Your answer to these questions will help you decide whether you want a temporary or a permanent solution to pregnancy prevention and whether you need more than a barrier. It also tells you whether you want something that will have long-lasting effects on your fertility or something that you can stop using it when you decide to have a baby.

Barriers: Birth Control That Blocks Out Sperm

Barriers prevent sperm from entering the uterus to fertilize the egg. Popular barriers include condoms, female condoms, dental dams, contraceptive sponges, and diaphragms, among others. All of these methods are temporary methods to prevent pregnancy and some, such as condoms, reduce the chance of sexually transmitted diseases. Once you know how to use these devices correctly, they have an average 90% effectiveness rate. The advantage is that if you decide that you want to become pregnant, you can stop usage immediately and have unprotected sex. Barriers are the only over-the-counter birth control.

Hormonal: Birth Control That Blocks Ovulation

For highly effective protection against ovulation, hormonal birth control methods, such as the pill, patch, ring, and injection offer a trouble-free approach to preventing pregnancy. While not effective in preventing sexually transmitted diseases, the hormones they contain may be effective in treating other conditions such as acne, bad menstrual cramps, anemia, cysts in breasts and ovaries, pelvic inflammatory disease, and many other problems. In some women, hormonal products are linked to blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, and high pressure, which makes it important to have annual checkups.

Once you stop using hormonal forms of birth control, you may have to wait two or more months for your cycle to get back to normal before you can become pregnant.

Intrauterine Devices: Long Term Pregnancy Blockers

When you want long-term pregnancy blockers, intrauterine devices or IUDs can be placed in your uterus. While these devices are not protective against sexually transmitted diseases, they offer a trouble-free birth control that can be virtually fool-proof. The IUD introduces no hormones in your body that could prevent immediate pregnancy, so when you are ready to try for pregnancy, simply have your physician remove the device, and you can begin immediately.

For some women, the intensity of menstrual cramps increases, but other side effects of modern IUDs are rare. A small percentage of women get pregnant while fitted with an IUD, and have a risk of ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that develops outside the womb, often in the fallopian tubes).

Sterilization: No Longer Able to Conceive

If you have completed your family, want no children, or have a medical reason not to get pregnant, sterilization for the female through tubal ligation or the male through a vasectomy is an appropriate solution. Reversal of these processes is difficult, often ineffective, and costly. Sterilization offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases and is seldom recommended for those under 35 due to the possibility of later regret.

Behavioral Solutions: Contraceptive Roulette

Some sexual partners rely on behavioral techniques such as withdrawal (coitis interruptus) or fertility awareness to prevent pregnancy. Most of these methods have a much lower success rate, while offering no protection against STDs.

If you want help in determining the best method for you, Rocky Mountain Women’s Health Center can help you make the best choice. Complete a Contraception Assessment and then make an appointment with one of the specialists for prescription or a fitting.

Questions About Your Birth Control Options In Salt Lake?

Contact a Rocky Mountain Women’s Health Center provider near you for more information about contraceptives and their usages.

Related reading:

Choosing the Best Type of Contraceptive for You


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