There are often a lot of questions when it comes to contraception methods. Here is a quick rundown of different methods (as well as a few important facts about each). Consult your physician on what type is best for you.
Popular Brands: Yaz, Yasmin, Estrostep Fe, LoEstrin 1/20
Works Well For: Preventing pregnancy. Also has been known for easing hot flashes and restoring regular periods. This method works well for women who have a stable lifestyle, as it must be taken at the same time every day to maintain its effectiveness.
Does Not Work Well For: Smokers and women over 35. This is because of potential blood clots that can form from the additional estrogen. You may also want to avoid this method if you suffer from migraines, as it might trigger painful headaches.
Popular Brands: Camilia, Errin, Nora-BE, Nor-QD, Jencycla
Works Well For: Contrary to the previous method, this type of contraceptive works well for smokers because it does not contain estrogen. Progestin-only pills also work well for those with diabetes, heart disease and anyone who is at risk for blood clots.
Does Not Work Well For: The downside of progestin-only pills is that they must be taken at the exact same time every day, otherwise they will lose effectiveness. Even being three hours late may affect its efficacy. So, if you have trouble remembering to take your pill daily, this may be one method to avoid.
Popular Brands: NuvaRing
Works Well For: This method works well for those who traditionally use the combination pill, but might have trouble remembering to take it at the same time every day. This ring is inserted in the vagina for three weeks to deliver estrogen and progestin. It is then removed for one week to allow you to have a regular period.
Does Not Work Well For: Again, because it delivers estrogen to the body, this method is not suitable for women who smoke or have blood clots.
Popular Brands: Depo-Provera
Works Well For: Those who have trouble remembering to take a daily pill. These progestogen injections can last between 8 - 13 weeks depending on the type. This method is more than 99% effective and is not affected by medication. Other methods such as the combination pill can be made ineffective by antibiotics.
Does Not Work Well For: These injections, while effective, can have side effects including weight gain, headaches, mood swings, and irregular bleeding. Because this method cannot be removed from your body, if you do experience side effects, they will last as long as the injection's effectiveness. It may also not be a good option for women looking to have children in the near future, as it can take up to a year for fertility to return.
Popular Brands: ParaGard, Mirena
Works Well For: Anyone looking for a long term birth control method. IUD (Intra-Uterine Device) is a surgically implanted device that can have different effects depending on the brand. Some IUDs actually prevent sperm from reaching the egg while others work by releasing hormones. These devices are more than 99% effective and are last for 10 years once implanted.
Does Not Work Well For: If you plan to have kids in the next few years, this may not be the option for you. Because it is surgically implanted, it must be surgically taken out which can be expensive.
Condoms - Male & Female
Popular Brands: Trojan, Durex, FC
Works Well For: Female condoms, made from plyurethane (soft plastic), can work well for women to help protect against STDs and pregnancy. It can also be inserted up to 8 hours before sex. Male condoms, however, offer more protection against STDs and pregnancy than female condoms.
Does Not Work Well For: Condoms are well regarded as a good idea at preventing pregnancy and protecting against STDs, especially if you and your partner are not in a long-term relationship. It is important to note that condoms are made of latex, so if you or your partner have a latex allergy, you'll have to search for latex-free condoms. You will also have to switch to an oil-free lubricant option, as oil-based lubricants degrade latex.
Popular Brands: Nexplanon
Works Well For: Much like an IUD, implants are implanted under the skin (of the upper arm for this method) and last up to three years: no daily doses. It is about the size of a matchstick and is nearly 100% effective.
Does Not Work Well For: Some implant brands may not work well for women taking St. John's Wort or for women who are overweight. This form can also come at a high price, often nearing $1,000.
Works Well For: This surgical procedure blocks the fallopian tubes from carrying eggs to the uterus. This option works well for women who have already had children or are not looking to have children.
Does Not Work Well For: Women looking to have children.
Plan B or Emergency Contraception
Popular Brands: Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, My Way
Works Well For: Plan B or other emergency contraception methods (dubbed the "morning-after pill") should only be used as a backup for regular birth control. Plan B can be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex and delivers a high dose of the same synthetic hormones found in the combination pill.
Does Not Work Well For: This method is available over-the-counter at most pharmacies, but you must be at least 18 years of age to purchase.
Always consult your physician when thinking of starting a new birth control method. It's also crucial to protect yourself against STDs, as most contraceptive methods (aside from condoms) do not offer this protection.