Deciding which type of birth control is right for you can be a challenge. Many women do not know all of their options, or what side effects come from certain types of birth control. If you are hoping to actively begin a course of birth control to prevent pregnancy for the time being, here are the most common birth control options for you to consider:
The pill is the most common form of birth control. The typical birth control bill contains a mixtures of hormones, most notably progesterone and estrogen. These slightly alter your body's perception of your menstrual cycle, making your uterus unprepared for implantation.
Another less common pill type is the mini pill. This pill is progesterone only, and it needs to be taken more often and at very specific times of the day.
The pill is very effective, but there are some downsides. Missing a dose can provide a gap in your protection. If you are forgetful about taking regular medication, the pill will not work as well in preventing pregnancy. Also, the hormonal nature of the pill can something provide side effects like mood swings or changes in weight, which can be bothersome to some women.
An IUD, or interuterine device, is small t-shaped appliance that is placed carefully inside the uterus. There are two types of IUDs:
- Hormonal IUDs
Hormonal IUDs, with the brand name Mirena, are made from plastic. It gradually releases tiny doses of progestin into the uterus. if you are okay with hormonal birth control methods (the Mirena does not affect your moods as much as the pill), the IUD is a great option, especially for women who have heavy periods. After having this IUD for a few months, many women may stop having any monthly bleeding at all, or the bleeding will be much lighter.
- Copper IUDs
Some women are drawn toward copper IUDs because they do not have any hormones. Instead, tiny bits of copper are present on the t-shaped device. As the copper ionizes in the uterus, it creates an inhospitable environment for sperm, blocking the sperm from reaching the egg. The copper can cause low levels of inflammation, so women may have spotting between periods and experience heavier periods with copper IUDs.
Shot or Patch
Instead of taking a pill, you can get a shot or patch of hormones that needs to be replaced every few months. These work in a way similar to the pill, but they can be good for women who do not want to remember to take a pill every day. Side effects can include weight gain, appetite changes, and mood swings.
For more information on birth control options, contact a family medical care professional.