There are many forms of birth control available on the market today. Most of them have their pluses, and minuses, effectiveness, safety, side effects, and use in a sexual situation. When you investigate which birth control is right for you, remember to factor in all aspects when you try to determine which one works for your life. Most forms of birth control do not prevent STDs. Remember, your birth control choice may give you the option over when you are ready for a child in your life, if you are not with a dedicated, disease-free partner make sure you are using some kind of barrier that is rated to protect you from disease transmission. For those considering a birth control option, the three most common for women are:
The Pill: Yes, hormonal birth control pills are still the most common form of contraceptive used on the market. There are many forms of generic, and brand name pills, many of which use different hormonal cocktails to prevent pregnancy. Most use a three-week on, one-week off system, so your body has a chance to cycle in a ‘natural’ way. Several studies show now that most women don’t need to cycle once a month, and now there are several brands of pills that provide a three-month cycle instead. Depending on your sensitivity to the hormones, you might experience heavy spotting or heavier bleeding during your off weeks, and occasionally breakthrough bleeding during weeks you are on the hormones. Mood swings, and weight gain until you find a pill that works for you are also common, so be aware that when you choose a hormonal pill for birth control, it may take some time for your body to get used to the changes.
Tubal Ligation: Sterilization is still one of the most common methods of birth control, for women that have no interest in any more children. Modern Tubal Ligation is often an outpatient surgery, and in some cases, even reversible. Since the surgery prevents the egg from ever reaching the uterus, (as long as an experienced and reputable surgeon does the surgery,) the chances of reversion or pregnancy are practically none. This is, however, effectively a permanent solution, so for many women, this is not an option until they stopped having children, or it was required for a medical need. Like all surgeries, make sure this one is right for you, because it is not entirely risk free.
IUDs: Inter Uterine Devices, and implants are the second most common non-permanent type of birth control, that allows for full intercourse without a barrier. IUDs and implants are becoming more common as the hormonal doses and inserts become better. They do have slightly different methods of preventing pregnancy though. An IUD uses either copper or progestin to prevent pregnancy. The copper acts as a spermacide, while the hormone prevents the sperm from entering the uterus through thickening of the uterine wall. Both methods also create inflammation, which prevents an egg from implanting, should it get fertilized. The hormonal IUD can sometimes cause acne, minor headaches or depression, though those symptoms often fade over time. On the bright side, most IUD users also report lighter periods, or no period at all.
Contraception is one of the biggest choices a woman has to make. It is a question of how you want to plan your future, and control your body. There are options out there for any contraceptive need, whether you are with a dedicated monogamous relationship, or are still exploring what you want with multiple partners. Don’t let someone else dictate what works for you, and don’t make a choice without the education you deserve regarding all the options out there. If you have difficulties with some of these options, don’t forget, it’s also very easy to keep a supply of the good, old fashioned, reliable condom at hand, for when intimacy finds you otherwise unprepared.