There are lots of different birth control options out there. You have many choices when it comes to birth control, but not all methods are right for everyone. Selecting which type of control method to use can be very confusing. Although some birth controls are more effective than others, no method (except for abstinence) is 100% effective. Part of choosing a birth control method is also finding one that you feel comfortable with. From birth control pills to implants, there are many options to choose from. It helps to start by certain basic factors.
Factors to consider when choosing birth control
I. How effective is it?
Some birth control methods work better than others do. In general, birth control that requires the least effort by you is the most effective. Examples include sterilization, IUDs, and implants. Pills, the patch, and condoms can be very effective if used correctly and consistently. The least effective birth control methods require self-control, including withdrawal before ejaculation and fertility monitoring.
II. Is it reversible?
When choosing birth control, consider your long-term reproductive goals. Permanent methods, such as sterilization, are not a good option until you are sure your family is complete. If you want to get pregnant in the near future, consider birth control that is easy to stop and is completely reversible, such as condoms or oral contraceptives. If you will not be ready to have children for a long time, an IUD may be appropriate.
III. Are the side effects tolerable?
Some contraceptives, particularly hormone-based contraceptives, cause side effects. You may have breast tenderness, bleeding between periods, nausea, cramping, weight gain, depression, hair or skin changes, or headaches. Other contraceptives may cause heavy periods. When choosing a method, talk to your provider about possible side effects and consider which ones you can live with.
IV. Does it fit your personality and lifestyle?
It must be used exactly as prescribed to be effective. They requires remembering to take a pill every day. Missing doses may not be the best choice. If you aren’t sure you will consistently apply a condom before intercourse, consider a method that doesn’t cause an interruption. These methods include the pill, IUD or shot. If you smoke, avoid hormone contraceptives because the combination greatly increases your risk of blood clots and heart disease.
V. Are you in a monogamous relationship?
It is important to choose a barrier control method that prevents pregnancy and protects you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) if you have multiple partners. Consistent and correct use of condoms is the best way to protect yourself from HIV and other STDs. Non-barrier methods like pills, patches, or IUDs are an option if you are in a monogamous relationship with a partner who doesn’t have an STD.
VI. Do you have health conditions?
Take good care of yourself. Some hormonal contraceptives are unsafe for women with certain health conditions. Avoid medications containing hormones if you have conditions such as blood clots, cancer, liver disease. Inform your healthcare provider about all your health conditions before using prescription methods.
VII. Can you afford it?
Some birth control methods are more expensive than others. Consider how much it will cost and choose one you can afford. Keep in mind that some methods cost more initially, but may be more affordable over a long time, such as tubal ligation (sterilization). Also, think about how easy it will be to get your birth control. Many methods require a prescription and regular checkups.
Felix Ntifo is a Registered General Nurse who has so much passion to improve health care delivery. He founded FelClinic with the hope of making health information accessible to everyone who may not come in contact with him personally.
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