Which Birth Control Option Is Right for You?

May 7th 2016

There are many forms of birth control available, including some options not covered in this article. Talk to your doctor about the right method for you.


Condoms are one of the most widely used forms of birth control. They are inexpensive and effective. They are also one of the few methods that protects against sexually transmitted infections, which means you should always use them with new partners, even if you are on another form of birth control.

The Pill

"The pill" is another common form of birth control. There are several varieties with different combinations of estrogen and progestin since every woman's body is different and may respond differently to these hormones. The pill has to be taken at the same time every day to work effectively, so it can be difficult for women with unpredictable schedules.

The Patch

The patch delivers the same hormones as the pill, but it is absorbed through the skin rather than being taken orally. This leaves less room for error, but the patch can be visible at times and fall off under certain conditions.

The Implant

The implant is a small, flexible plastic rod a doctor inserts under your skin. It lasts for years, and there is virtually no room for user error. It can be expensive if you do not have insurance, and some women experience unpredictable periods or spotting. It can also cause a small amount of scarring from implantation and removal.

Intrauterine Devices

IUDs are one of the most reliable methods of long-term birth control. They are small, T-shaped devices a doctor inserts into your uterus. The copper IUD does not contain hormones and simply prevents any fertilized eggs from implanting, while the hormonal IUD releases a small amount of progestin to prevent ovulation. Although effective, these devices can be painful to insert and are expensive without insurance coverage.


Spermicide is usually used in conjunction with another device, such as a diaphragm, cervical cap or sponge. These devices help block the passage of sperm, and the spermicide kills any sperm that might get through. However, spermicide can irritate the sensitive skin of the vagina, and many women eventually develop an allergy to it.

The Shot

The shot is a dose of progestin given every three months. It is effective and not very susceptible to user error, but many women experience side effects. Unlike other methods of birth control, you cannot simply stop taking it if it does not work for you. It also requires a doctor's visit every time you need one.


Family planning is a key part of having a healthy and happy life, but the many options available can get confusing. If you are considering birth control, ask your doctor about the following options.

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