What is Birth Control and How Does It Work?
There are many different types of birth control available to women today. A large selection of birth control options are hormonal – they contain hormones that are naturally occurring in our bodies like ethinyl estrogen and/or a progestin to prevent pregnancy. The hormones work to prevent ovulation so there is no egg available to fertilize and to make it harder for sperm to reach the egg by thickening the cervical mucus. There are also non-hormonal options available which decrease the risk of pregnancy in various ways without the use of hormones.
What is Birth Control Used For?
The main reason why individuals use birth control is to prevent pregnancy. However, others may use the it for other reasons including irregular cycles, excessive menstrual blood loss, painful periods, acne, endometriosis, hirsutism and more. There are many types of birth control options available – your doctor may suggest a specific one based on your needs and health history.
How Effective is Birth Control?
Birth control control options can vary in their effectiveness. Certain methods such as natural methods (i.e. withdrawal or using home fertility prediction methods) have shown to be less effective. Many popular methods such as the birth control pill, patch, ring and IUDs have shown to be extremely effective. You may hear many birth control options are over 99% effective – what is often left unsaid is that this is with perfect use. You are a large determinant in how effective your birth control will be – following the directions for use for your specific birth control method greatly decreases risk of unwanted pregnancy.
Non-hormonal Birth Control Options
Women looking to use birth control today have a lot of options. Some women may prefer not to use hormonal birth control options. Furthermore, hormonal birth control options may be discouraged for certain women by their doctor due to their needs and health history.
You may hear some people using “natural” methods such as “pulling out” or ovulation tests to prevent pregnancy- these have not shown to be as effective as other birth control options. There are also barrier methods such as the use of male or female condoms, however, the risk of failure to prevent pregnancy can increase greatly due to slippage, breakage or incorrect use. Lastly, a copper intrauterine device (IUD) may be placed inside the uterus by a healthcare professional – this is a type of a highly effective long-term birth control option.
Hormonal Birth Control Options
There are many types of hormonal birth control options. Some birth control pills are called combination oral contraceptives because they contain a certain amount of ethinyl estradiol (which is an estrogen) and a certain amount of a progestin. Different birth control pills contain different amounts of these hormones at different ratios which can be useful in treating your specific needs. There are also progestin-only pills which do not contain an estrogen. Birth control pills can be taken for 3 weeks straight with a 4th week off or in certain cases the pill can be taken for 84 days straight – the method chosen effects how often a women will experience menstrual flow.
There are also other hormonal options such as the birth control patch which is placed on the skin or the vaginal birth control ring which are also used for 3 weeks with a 4th non-hormonal week off. Many women also opt for long term birth control options such as the IUS which is similar to the copper IUD in terms of placement inside the uterus however, this type releases a type of progestin into the body.
How Do I Pick a Birth Control Method?
There are a lot of birth control options. Options are great as each woman’s needs for birth control and their health history are unique however, the amount of options can also be overwhelming – your healthcare team can be a great resource. For example, our team at Jill Health will spend time getting to know you – we want to know what you want out of birth control, what is feasible within your lifestyle, your health and family history and more. This type of information can be extremely useful in selecting the best birth control option for you.
How Can I Get Birth Control?
Birth control is an effective and safe worry-free option for many women looking to prevent pregnancy. Before you can begin using it though a doctor needs to evaluate what options are suitable for you – don’t worry, there is something for everyone! It is also important to let your doctor and pharmacist know if you are taking any other medications – some medications can interact with certain birth control methods and render it ineffective. Once you and your doctor determine which type of birth control is best for you and your lifestyle, your doctor will provide you with a prescription.
Jill Health has a team of licensed medical professionals who are experts in birth control – talk to one today from the comfort of your home to see which method is best for you. We will also provide comprehensive counselling on how to use your specific birth control method so you know how to get the most out of your birth control. Additionally, once your treatment plan is finalized, the team at Jill health will ship your personalized treatment plan straight to your home!