Birth Control - Birth Control Methods
There are many methods of
birth control. Learn about the different kinds of
birth control to help you choose the best one for you. When making your choice,
also consider that only a condom will help protect you from
sexually transmitted infections (STIs). To protect
yourself and your partner against STIs, use a condom (along with your chosen
birth control method) every time you have sex.
Hormonal methods are very
reliable means of birth control. Hormonal methods use two basic
- Combination hormonal methods contain
progesterone). Combination methods include
pills ("the Pill"), the skin patch, and the ring.
- Progestin-only hormonal methods include pills, also
called "mini-pills"; a shot (such as Depo-Provera); and implants (such as Implanon or Nexplanon). If you
can't take estrogen, a progestin-only method may be an option for you. There is also a hormonal IUD that releases a type of progestin.
Combination and progestin-only methods are prescribed for
women for different reasons. Each
type of method has its pros and cons.
- Combination pills may reduce acne, pain
during ovulation, and premenstrual symptoms. Both types of pill reduce heavy
bleeding and cramping. Unlike the combination pill, the progestin-only pill can
be taken by almost all women, including those who are breast-feeding. Depending on when you start taking either type of birth control pill, you may
need to use a backup birth control method for the first week.
- Patches or vaginal rings are similar to combination
pills, but they don't require taking a daily pill. The patch is changed weekly,
and the ring is changed monthly (with 1 week off after 3 weeks of
- Some birth control pills reduce severe mood and physical
symptoms that some women get before they start their monthly periods. These
symptoms are called
premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). There are also birth
control pills for women who want fewer periods or who want to stop having
- The birth control shot does not require
taking a daily pill. Instead, you see your health professional once every 3
months for the injection.
- The hormone implant releases
hormones that prevent pregnancy for about 3 years. It must be inserted and
removed by a trained health professional. The actual implant is about the size
of a matchstick and is inserted under the skin on the inside of the upper