Birth Control Options
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
- Birth control facts
- What are the different types of birth control available?
- What are hormonal birth control options (including oral contraceptives pills)?
- What are barrier methods of birth control (including condoms)?
- What are natural birth control options?
- What about surgical sterilization (tubal ligation or vasectomy) for birth control?
- What is emergency contraception?
- What are IUDs (intrauterine devices)?
- Related Birth Control Articles:
Barrier methods of contraception
IUD (intrauterine devices)
Hormonal methods of contraception
"Natural" methods of contraception
Contraceptive measures after unprotected sex
Permanent methods of contraception - surgical sterilization
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
Birth control facts
- Birth control methods can be broadly classified into barrier methods (that prevent sperm cells from reaching the egg), methods that prevent ovulation such as the pill, and methods that allow fertilization of the egg but prevent implantation of the fertilized egg inside the uterus (womb).
- Condoms and diaphragms are examples of barrier birth control methods.
- Birth control pills are an example of a birth control methods that prevents ovulation.
- The decision about what kind of birth control option to use is extremely personal, and there is no single choice that is safest or best for all women or couples.
- A woman should carefully weigh the risks and benefits, along with the effectiveness of each method before choosing a birth control method. A thorough and open discussion with a health care-professional can help in this decision process.
- Different forms of birth control have different side effects and risk profiles.
- The choice of birth control method depends on many factors, such as the desire for reversible birth control (preserving future fertility) or permanent birth control methods (surgical sterilization). Some birth control methods, such as barrier methods, may offer some protection against sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), while most methods do not.
- No method of birth control is 100% effective in preventing STDs.
- Some birth control methods have higher success rates than others, but no method of birth control is 100% effective in every case.
What are the different types of birth control available?
Types of birth control methods include options that prevent sperm from reaching an egg, known as barrier methods; methods that prevent ovulation, and methods that prevent implantation of a fertilized egg into the uterus.
Types of birth control include:
- Hormonal birth control methods, including birth control pills and patches
- Barrier birth control methods
- Cervical caps
- Natural birth control methods
- Intrauterine devices
- Emergency contraception
- Surgical sterilization
What are hormonal birth control options (including oral contraceptives pills)?
Hormonal options of birth control involve the use of hormones to prevent ovulation in a woman. Although oral contraceptive pills are the most widely used hormonal method, other options are available including the vaginal ring, hormone patches applied to the skin, and injections of progestin.
Common side effects of birth control pills can include
- weight gain,
- skin discoloration,
- bleeding between periods or spotting,
- mood swings,
- change in menstrual flow, and
- breasts swelling or tenderness.
Heart attacks, blood clots, and strokes are more serious complications of oral contraceptives. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of these complications. This risk is greatest in women over 35 who are heavy smokers (>15 cigarettes/day).
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