Choosing “The One”
How to Choose the Best BC Method for You
There are so many types! The choice can be overwhelming! And each method has its pros and cons, so it’s important to explore each option according to your personal preferences and situation. Considerations to take into account include how often you have sex, how soon you want children, potential side effects and health conditions.
It is also important to note that every woman and every body is different. And even your own body goes through changes over the years. This makes choosing birth control methods harder, as there is no guarantees about how your body will react to it and what will work for you at this time. The best way to go about this, with the guidance of your doctor, is to try different types till you find one that works for you. Here are the main methods of birth control for you to consider when choosing the one for you.
There are many different types of birth control pills and there are different doses of hormones in each one. It’s important to find the right one for your body, which can take some time and experimentation. Your doctor might start you off on a pill that contains low levels of estrogen, but if this causes vaginal dryness or breakthrough bleeding, you might be moved to a pill with higher levels of estrogen. Other side effects of the pill could be headaches, mood swings, low libido, depression, insomnia and more. If you experience symptoms that you’re not happy with, your doctor will try you on a different pill until you find the right one. If you suffer from PMS, it’s important to tell your doctor before deciding on a pill, as some pills have been approved to actually treat these symptoms rather than make it worse.
If you remember to take your pill every day, it is 99% effective. Depending on the pill, being late for a dose or forgetting a day can lower your protection so if you’re forgetful you might want to consider a different option unless you can find a method that helps you remember (for example, taking it straight after breakfast, or setting an alarm on your phone to remind you). The advantage of the pill is that it can be stopped pretty much at any time, so it remains a versatile and short-term option with the ability to take it for many years if you wish.
IUDs are inserted directly into the vagina by a doctor and usually last between three and ten years. This is a great option for someone who wants a long-term solution and doesn’t want to have to remember to do anything. While pills are cheaper in the short term, the IUD remains the most cost-effective solution long-term. You need a doctor to insert it and once it’s in you’re set for the next number of years (depending on the type of IUD). Some IUDs can cause spotting or heavy periods, while with others most women don’t get a period at all (a hormonal IUD such as Mirena)! Before getting an IUD, it’s important to tell your doctor about any medical conditions. Someone with uterine abnormalities would not be able to get an IUD, for example.
Rings are a great choice if you want a hormonal, effective method that can be stopped at any time. Once you’ve inserted it, it stays there for 3 weeks. After the 3 weeks, your period will come and then you insert a new one. To be effective it needs to be inserted correctly, but this can be done from home with relative ease – unlike an IUD which requires a doctor to insert it. Since it’s hormonal, you may experience symptoms as you would on the pill but it varies from person to person. For example, a person who feels moody on the pill may be fine using a ring as it is only in contact with a specific region of the body.
Patches are a non-invasive, hormonal method, and work in a similar way to pills and rings. Patches are applied once a week which is also great for a forgetful person, but it might be tricky for someone who swims regularly as the patch works best when it’s flat against the skin. Additionally, it can be less effective for women who are overweight.
So…what to choose? The options might seem overwhelming but after discussing with your doctor and perhaps some trial and error, you will soon be able to find the best one for your body and lifestyle. Another factor to take into account is price. Feel free to look at this price comparison chart to make an informed decision on how much you want to pay on your birth control.
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