There are many methods of birth control available to women. To decide which type is right for you, there are a number of things to consider. It is best to sit down with your doctor to discuss your options.
The type of contraception you choose should largely depend on whether or not you wish to have children in the future. You may also want to take into consideration any side effects such as headaches and weight gain, level of hormones, effectiveness and other risk factors.
Common birth control methods that contain hormones are birth control pills and the vaginal ring. There are various types of birth control pills that release different levels of hormones. One setback is that their effectiveness is highly dependent on whether you remember to take a pill every day around the same time. The vaginal ring is similar in that you must leave it in place for three weeks, remove it during the week of your period and place a new one in every month. Although these hormonal options are reliable methods of preventing pregnancy if used correctly, they do not protect you from contracting STDs. For this reason you may want to consider using a condom in conjunction with your birth control, especially if you have more than one sexual partner.
Barrier methods (i.e. condoms, diaphragms) are another effective form of contraception to consider. Unlike most other birth control methods, using a condom may also protect against transmitting STDs. Condoms do not require a prescription, but you must remember to use them every time if you intend to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.
An intrauterine device (IUD) is one of the most effective types of birth control. A doctor places the IUD in your uterus during a simple office visit. There are various brands of IUDs available: the copper ParaGard IUD is non-hormonal and lasts up to ten years. The Mirena IUD releases hormones and is effective for up to five years. Skyla, which has the least amount of progesterone, is slightly smaller and lasts 3 years. Liletta also lasts 3 years, releases slightly less progesterone than the Mirena, and may be the least expensive option.
The Essure® procedure is a permanent method of birth control. This minimally invasive procedure is done in the office. For more information on the Essure® procedure and if it is right for you, visit www.essure.com.