Women have many birth control options available to them today, but more options mean that women will have to consider carefully when choosing a product for themselves. Many women will prefer one type of birth control method over another, but experts suggest that women consider their lifestyle before making that selection. If you are contemplating birth control or think you may want to change the type of birth control you are using, the following information can help.
Technically speaking, the male condom is the go-to form of birth control for men, but many women insist that their partners wear a condom for one very important reason: it’s the only form of birth control that also protects against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Although the protection isn’t 100%, it does a better job of safeguarding health than any other form of birth control.
Female condoms can also protect against many types of STDs, but certainly not all of them and not as well as the male condom can. The female condom is about 79% effective at blocking sperm, whereas the male condom is 82% effective.
Sponges, Caps, and Diaphragms
Sponges, caps, and diaphragms are contraceptives that can greatly reduce the risk of pregnancy. The sponge is coated with spermicide and inserted into the vagina to block and kill sperm. A cervical cap is inserted to literally “cap” the cervix to prevent pregnancy. A diaphragm is a disk that’s inserted to block the cervix; it must be coated with spermicide before each use.
Implants and IUDs
An implant is a matchstick-sized rod that’s placed in the skin where it releases the hormone progestin, which makes mucous thicker and more effective at blocking sperm. An IUD, or intrauterine device is implanted within the uterus, often for years, where it prevents fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus.
The hormone pill is a form of oral contraception, which is taken each day. It also causes the body to produce progestin, causing the cervical mucus to thicken and better block sperm. Additionally, the hormones in the pill prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs, which must join with sperm to result in pregnancy.
Lifestyle Factors to Consider When Selecting Birth Control
Women frequently select a form of birth control that suits their lifestyle. Sometimes, however, women must refrain from using one type over another due to health issues. For instance, some women suffer migraines from taking the pill. Others might develop a sensitivity to spermicide.
When it comes to lifestyle, many women first have to address budget concerns. For women without health insurance or Medicaid, prescriptions for the pill or an IUD may be more costly, for example. The procedure to embed an IUD can run about $800. On the other hand, a diaphragm costs far less at $80. More affordable options include the sponge and condoms, which may range in price between $4-$6.
Other factors that influence a woman’s choice of birth control include her schedule. If you are too busy to remember to take a pill each day, you might want to opt for the implant or IUD, which allows you to forget about it. These devices are ideal if you don’t want to become pregnant for a time and you have sex on a regular basis. If you don’t have sex on a regular basis or you are not monogamous, opt for barrier methods. In order to guard against STIs and STDs while preventing pregnancy, condoms – both male and female – are best.
You should always consult your healthcare provider before deciding on a form of birth control. Some products, such as the hormonal pill, carry health risks including increased risk of some cancers. Others might simply cause you to have an allergic reaction and should be avoided for that reason. Choosing a form of birth control isn’t easy, but keep in mind that if one type doesn’t work for you, you can always switch. Tell your doctor about your lifestyle so he or she can help you narrow down your choices so you can select the ideal option for your life.