Contraception, or birth control, is the most popular way to prevent pregnancy. However, not all contraception is the same. In general, birth control falls into two main categories: hormonal and non-hormonal. Every female body is unique, and it is important to choose the best form of contraception that fits your needs and goals. For many women, this means weighing the risk of pregnancy against the side effects of hormonal birth control.
Birth control that contains hormones carries a very high success rate in preventing pregnancy, especially when compared to condoms or diaphragms. Hormonal birth control methods release hormones that alter the body’s chemistry to prevent pregnancy. This can involve thinning the uterine lining, preventing ovulation or other hormonal deviations that will prevent the natural conception process from occurring. While hormonal birth control typically involves taking a daily pill, there are other forms of hormonal contraception including rings, patches, shots or IUDs.
The hormones that are released into your body to prevent pregnancy can agree with you and even help your condition, such as when you have bad acne or heavy periods. However, not all women can tolerate the addition or hormones that come from this type of birth control. In fact, the side effects can be rather rough for some females, even after the initial adjustment period.
The Potential Setbacks of Hormonal Contraception
While there are various strengths and hormone combinations to choose from, there are some very common side effects that can occur with hormonal birth control. For women who experience the following risks and downsides from birth control, a non-hormonal version may be better:
- Bleeding between periods
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of blood clots and high blood pressure
- Irregular periods
- Mood swings
- Sore breasts
- Spotting between periods
- Weight gain
- Failure to protect against STDs
Non-Hormonal Birth Control Options
Non-hormonal forms of birth control provide on-demand protection from pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases. They work by creating a physical barrier that stops sperm from entering the uterus. Hormone-free birth control options include condoms, diaphragms, sponges, cervical caps, cervical shields, IUDs, spermicide and an acid-based vaginal gel. It is important to note that these options may not work as well as hormonal birth control, and they are not nearly as convenient (“in the moment”). However, for females who do not tolerate the extra hormones or want to deal with the side effects, non-hormonal contraception may be the better choice.
At North Pointe OB/GYN, we are here to help you choose the best contraception for you. Our physicians are highly knowledgeable when it comes to the latest and most effective birth control options available. We consider personal health profile, your sex life and your family-planning goals. Call our Cumming clinic today for expert advice.