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- 72% of women who practice contraception currently use nonpermanent methods—primarily hormonal methods (i.e., the pill, patch, implant, injectable and vaginal ring), IUDs and condoms. The others are have their tubs tied.
Pick Up Your Birth Control Today at Your Local Pharmacy, or we’ll mail it directly to you!
What's the best form of birth control?
Physical birth control like condoms, diaphragms, and sponges prevent sperm from reaching the egg. Hormonal birth control safely stops ovulation keeping the egg being released from the ovary.
Hormonal birth control mimics the naturally-occurring hormones Estrogen and Progestin that are produced in a woman’s body.
Hormonal birth control is a very popular and effective contraceptive.
Birth control options are reversible meaning the ability to get pregnant (fertility) quickly returns once you stop using them.
- Convenient and easy to use.
- Studies show successful protection reaches 91-99.9% with little risk.
- Birth control helps prevent menstrual cramps and reduces acne.
For some, birth control pills can be prescribed for reasons other than pregnancy prevention, like reducing unwanted menstrual bleeding or mild acne.
What’s the Best Form of Birth Control?
There is not one-size-fits all option for birth control because everyone has their own unique body and lifestyle so some forms may work better for you than others.
Since we’re dealing with hormones, planning and monitoring is important because hormones are complex and ever changing.
When starting birth control they bring with it all sorts of bodily changes so talking through your wants and needs with our providers is important. Like many medications commitment and consistency is important as the body responds better to regular use.
Whatever you’re looking for in a birth control method, we can help.
Birth control oral pills
Birth control pills are the most popular method of hormonal birth control, and it’s easy to see why. Four out of five women have used the pill. The pill is small, highly effective, and most importantly, affordable.
There are two main types of birth control pills to choose from. Minipills or Combination Hormonal Birth Control:
While we offer a number of different pill brands, there are two main types of birth control pills women can choose from: combination pill and minipill.
The combination pill contains both estrogen and progestin and is the most commonly used form.
The minipill contain progestin only. Some women may have a sensitivity to estrogen. Minipill is recommended for those that are breastfeeding, experience certain heart problems or concerns with taking estrogen.
Both options work great for those who like a daily routine. The combination pill must be taken every day in order to be effective, and the minipill is a daily pill and must be taken within a 3-hour window.
After 3 weeks of daily pills, most prescriptions call for a week “off” birth control to allow for a period to occur. During this week, some manufacturers include iron placebo pills in the last week’s row to help women deal with iron loss.
Birth control patches
The contraceptive topical patch (generic Xulane or Brand Name: Ortho Evra) is worn on the skin and contains the same estrogen and progestin hormones as combo oral medication. They are incognito, easy to apply, applied weekly.
There is little to worry about with the patch but long-term treatment is not suggested due to the higher levels of estrogen in the patches. Our providers will help plan treatment to make sure this doesn’t happen.
A typical plan asks you to apply and change the topical patch once a week for 3 weeks then the 4th week is patch-free to allow a period to occur. The provider will tell you that patch must be rotated to different part of the body like stomach, upper outer arm, buttocks, or back.
Women who don’t want to interfere with their period cycle, for personal reasons or medical reasons may consider the patch as their preferred method of birth control over an oral pill.
Birth control injections
Birth control shots are a great option for women who do not want to worry about forgetting a daily or weekly dose.
The Depo-Provera shot is by-far the easiest birth control option because the shot is given every 3 months. Like orals or patches, the shot contains progestin, the hormone that prevents your ovaries from releasing eggs. The Depo shot also thickens your cervical mucus, which helps block sperm from getting to the egg.
A Depo shot is often prescribed as a temporary treatment to alleviate the symptoms of endometriosis, which occurs when the endometrial tissue grows on your ovaries, bowel, and tissues lining your pelvis causing inflammation and uncomfortable pain.
Like the minipill (non-estrogen oral pills), the shot contains no estrogen, making it a smart option for women who react poorly to doses of the hormone.
Birth control ring (NuvaRing) vs. the IUD: Which is more effective?
There are two other birth control options to consider like Birth Control Ring (NuvaRing) or IUD (Intrauterine Devices) but these will require an in person visit.
The ring is a small ring made of soft, flexible plastic that women self-insert inside the vagina near the cervix to prevent pregnancy.
The ring is an effective treatment (99% effective) that lasts up to a month.
Similar to oral pills or injections, the ring releases a steady dose of combination hormones (estrogen and progestin) into the body preventing the release of eggs from the ovaries.
In order to be effective, women must position the ring correctly so it does not move around.
The birth control ring can be inserted at home without going to a healthcare provider. Our prescription will come with instructions but the method is easy and straight forward.
After washing your hands, you will squeeze the sides of the ring together with your fingers and gently push it into your vagina where it will resume its round shape – if you can’t feel it when you’re walking around, it’s in place correctly.
When it’s time to take your NuvaRing out, you will hook your finger through the ring and gently pull it out of your vagina. (You can leave it in during sex or any other kind of physical activity).
The vaginal ring can also improve or regulate menstrual periods. The ring can help to make periods more regular and reduce the flow.
The ring stays in the vagina for three weeks then removed for a week. During the week when the ring is not inserted, a regular menstrual period may begin within 2 to 3 days.
The new ring can be inserted after seven days even if your period is still underway.
IUD is a small “T” shaped device that’s fitted inside the uterus. IUDs can be copper or hormonal.
Copper IUDs (sometimes called Paragard IUD) work by repelling sperm using copper without the use of estrogen or progestin hormones. Copper is toxic towards sperm meaning the copper IUD can repel sperm and stop them from entering your uterus and coming into contact with an egg.
Copper poisoning is very rate but symptoms such as headaches, fever, fainting, nausea, vomiting, blood in your vomit, diarrhea, black stools, or abdominal cramps. While uncommon, it’s important be being aware of these signs in case your body begins to react abnormally.
Hormonal IUDs work the exact same as oral pills, injections and the ring by releasing a small dose of progestin hormones into your uterus. The IUD hormones thicken the cervical mucus, blocking sperm from coming into contact with an egg.
The IUD is a minimally invasive process performed by a healthcare provider. The insert process takes 5 minutes or less and most providers suggest mild pain medication to make the experience more comfortable.
With the IUD being a device rather than a formula, protection can last between three to seven years. Copper IUDs can protect from pregnancy for up to 12 years before they need to be replaced.
Most common side effect women experience are discomfort, cramps and back pain in the week after the IUD is fitted. Like other forms, women may experience heavier periods in the few months after it is inserted into the uterus.
If you don’t like the idea of having an IUD fitted and inserted, have concerns about the side effects or simply prefer taking a pill to using the IUD, you might prefer using the pill or the Depo injection.
What are popular birth control brands?
There’s no “best” form of birth control for everyone and there are signs when you should talk to our providers about switching birth control methods.
All birth control methods increase your level of certain hormones and All bodies are not created equal so hormones can cause unwanted side effects or reactions.
Side effects and disruption of menstrual cycle can also impact the body so it is important to follow the guidance of our provider’s plan and openly communicate any abnormal signs.
Side effects of birth control are rarely severe and most side effects will go away once the body has a few cycles to adjust to the birth control. If you are considering the switch between oral pills to topical patches, injections or ring (or visa versa), our provides will walk you through the following:
How to transition to make sure your hormone levels don’t drop or change.
The backup plan on using physical forms like condoms to make sure you are protected.
Overlapping is important to discuss with our providers to make sure you are not doubling up on two forms of hormonal birth control.
Most women can find a birth control method that doesn’t cause problems and is simply easier for them to take.
Can birth control affect sex drive?
While most women don’t experience any change in their sex drive from birth control, it’s worth mentioning. The body responds differently to estrogens, progestins and testosterone so women might not notice changes in sex drive or vaginal sensitivity after starting birth control.
If you notice a declining sex drive while on birth control talk to our providers about the possibility of HSDD or Sexual dysfunction. Low sex drive can be the result of issues such as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).
What are popular birth control brands?
Ethinyl Estradiol and Norgestimate: Combination: Estrogen and Progestin
Ortho-Cyclen, Femynor, Mononessa, Mono-Linyah, Mili, Norgestimate / Ethinyl Estradiol, Previfem, Estarylla, Sprintec
MonoNessa, Ortho-Cyclen, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, Previfem, Sprintec, Tri-Lo-Sprintec, TriNessa, TriNessa 28, Tri-Previfem, Tri-Sprintec
Generic form: Tri-Estarylla, Tri Norgestimate/Ethinyl Estradiol, Tri-Linyah, Tri-Previfem, Tri-Mili, Trinessa, Tri-Sprintec
Ethinyl Estradiol and Drospirenone
Yaz, Lo-Zumandimine, Gianvi, Vestura, Drospirenone / Ethinyl Estradiol, Jasmiel, Loryna, Nikki
Ethinyl estradiol, norethindrone acetate, and ferrous fumarate (an iron supplement).
Combination: Estrogen, Progestin, Iron (Placebo pills)
Loestrin FE 1/20, Microgestin FE 1/20, Larin FE 1/20, Gildess FE 1/20, Junel FE 1/20, Aurovela FE 1/20, Blisovi FE 1/20, Tarina FE 1/20
Birth Control Injection: Progestin only.
Ethinyl estradiol; desogestrel
Desogen, Ortho-Cept, Cyred, Enskyce, Emoquette, Apri, Reclipsen, Isibloom, Solia, Desogestrel / Ethinyl Estradiol, Juleber
Norethindrone: Progestin only, minipill.
Micronor. Errin, Jolivette, Sharobel, Norethindrone, Lyza, Jencycla
Birth Control Ring: Combination: Estrogen and Progestin
How to start birth control?
Our MyCare providers will evaluate your online forms and visit with you over video chat if desired. They will ask you about your lifestyle and prevention goals, any medications you are taking, what (if any) birth control you are using. They will need some background on your family health history to make sure you safe taking certain medications. From there, they can make recommendations and write prescriptions if needed. It’s important to know your blood pressure before starting or while on birth control.
CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Sams Club, Safeway, and Rite Aid have machines that can measure your blood pressure for free.
Find a blood pressure machine near you: