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How to Decide Which Birth Control Is Right for You

How to Decide Which Birth Control Is Right for You

Choosing a birth control method is a very personal decision. You must consider so many factors, including your health, lifestyle, and reproductive goals. 

At Rescue MD, part of our women’s health services include contraceptive counseling to help you determine which birth control method is right for you. Once you decide, we provide prescriptions and insertion services to protect you from an unwanted pregnancy. 

Here, we provide a comprehensive description of your birth control options and what to consider when making a decision about the type that’s right for you.

Understanding your options

Birth control methods fall into five categories, each with its own set of benefits and considerations.

1. Hormonal methods

Hormonal methods use synthetic hormones to prevent pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation, thickening cervical mucus to block sperm, and altering the uterine lining to prevent implantation. 

Options include oral contraceptives, patches, vaginal rings, injections, implants, and hormonal IUDs. Hormonal birth control is highly effective and can also regulate menstrual cycles and reduce your risk of certain cancers. 

2. Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs)

LARCs include intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants. IUDs are small devices we insert into the uterus that can prevent pregnancy for three to 10 years, depending on the type; in addition to hormonal IUDs, copper IUDs work without hormones.

The implant, namely Nexplanon®, is a tiny rod we insert under the skin of your arm. It releases hormones to prevent pregnancy for up to three years.

3. Barrier methods

You’re likely familiar with male and female condoms; they provide a barrier to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. The condom is the only contraceptive that also protects against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Another barrier method is the female diaphragm, which covers the cervix to block sperm.

4. Natural methods

Natural methods tend to be less reliable than other methods. They include fertility awareness, which involves tracking your menstrual cycle to avoid intercourse on fertile days and withdrawal.

5. Permanent methods

For women, tubal ligation is a surgical procedure that permanently prevents pregnancy by blocking or sealing the fallopian tubes. For men, the surgical procedure of a vasectomy seals the vas deferens, the tube that transports sperm to the semen. 

What to consider when deciding on birth control

The following considerations factor into your decision of what type of birth control to use:

Your health and medical history

Certain health conditions influence which birth control methods are safe for you. For example, hormonal methods may not be suitable for women with a history of blood clots or certain cancers.

Convenience and lifestyle

Your daily routine and preferences play a significant role in choosing a birth control method. If you prefer not to take a pill, or if you can’t be sure you’ll take it at the same time every day, a long-acting method like an IUD or implant might be more convenient and reliable.

Method effectiveness

Different methods have varying levels of effectiveness. LARCs like IUDs and implants are among the most effective, with a 99% success rate. Daily pills and barrier methods can be quite effective, but they can fail if you forget to take a pill or the condom breaks. 

Natural methods require more diligence and accurate tracking and have a 23% failure rate when it comes to preventing pregnancy. 

Potential side effects

Each birth control method can have different side effects. Hormonal methods, for example, may cause weight gain, mood changes, or nausea. IUDs can cause changes to your menstrual cycle. 

Your future reproductive plans

Consider what your plans are for a future family. If you want children soon, a reversible method like an IUD or hormonal option is best. If you've decided against having more children, a permanent method might be appropriate.

Birth control consultation

When you schedule a birth control consultation at RescueMD, we offer personalized recommendations. We review your medical history and discuss your lifestyle and preferences. We can help you understand any potential side effects of the type of birth control you’re considering. 

If you’re ready to commit to a type of birth control at your visit, we provide you with a prescription or insertion of IUD or implant if relevant. 

For more information on this topic, please reach out to RescueMD at 972-390-7667. We are an internal medicine, weight loss, and women’s health practice. We serve Allen, Frisco, Mckinney, Plano, and Dallas, Texas, and the surrounding areas. In addition to physicians, we have registered dietitians and personal trainers on staff to treat and manage most cases.

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