With so many options out there, you might be wondering how you’re meant to decide and how to go about choosing a birth control method that is right for you. The first thing to remember is that you might not get it right the first time. It could take several months, or longer, for you to find a method that suits your lifestyle best. And even once you find it, your life might change in a way where you might need to change method again.
To help you as much as possible, we’ve compiled five questions you can ask yourself which will help you figure out what’s most important to you. You can also take this quiz for some inspiration. Once you’ve narrowed it down, it’s a good idea to discuss with your doctor the options you’re thinking of.
How easy is it to use?
This can be an important factor because some methods are certainly easier to use than others. Some methods, such as the IUD, are inserted once and left for several years. The patch only needs to be changed weekly (but you still need to remember to do it!). The pill is perhaps the least invasive but you do need to remember to take it every day. The Depo-Provera is an injection that you only need every three months. Then there are methods such as the diaphragm which require insertion prior to sex every time. Which one to choose will largely depend on your lifestyle. For example, if you have one permanent partner at home with you, it would be less of a problem to opt for the diaphragm – though it’s still said to remove the spontaneity of intercourse knowing you have to insert it each time.
How long do you require birth control for? And is it reversible?
If you’re only looking for a temporary solution or if you want to start trying for a baby soon, the IUD may not be for you. The IUD is more of a long-term solution that can last between 3-10 years. If you are unsure, then it might be best to choose a temporary method such as the pill, patch, or a condom. Sterilization isn’t advised until you are completely sure that that is what you want.
How effective is it?
While no method is 100% effective, some are safer than others and it’s up to you to decide just how important this security is for you. Make sure to do the necessary research and to be OK with the risk percentage of the method you choose.
What are the side effects?
You might be keen on a specific method, but you also need to consider the side effects. Hormonal methods may cause the most side effects, though it is a matter of experimenting and finding the right method for you, whether this is a hormonal IUD, patch, injection or pill. There are also different types of pills with different levels of hormones which will affect you differently. Some IUDs can cause heavy periods while others stop your periods altogether. And some methods are do not use hormones at all, which are the perfect solution for women who are sensitive to hormonal changes.
Do you need a contraceptive that prevents sexually transmitted diseases?
If you’re unsure about whether or not your partner has a sexually transmitted disease, you may want to consider a condom which is the only method that can reduce your risk of transmitting an infection such as HIV. It is best to use another method of birth control such as the pill when using the condom, but you must never use a male condom when using a female condom.
Whichever method you choose, make sure you always consult with your doctor first. Some methods might not work for you depending on any health conditions you have, so it’s always important to discuss medical history with your practitioner. Additionally, contraception can get expensive. For this reason it’s advisable to purchase from a reliable online pharmacy where you have the option of being in touch with a pharmacist with any questions you may have, at a better price.