Different birth control methods work in different manners. The barrier methods like condoms and vaginal sponges work by providing a barrier in the union of sperms and ovum. Hormonal pills, patches, shots and vaginal rings work by altering the hormones required for egg formation or bringing about changes in the cervical secretions. Some people experience side effects when they use a particular contraceptive method. These may go away as the body adapts to certain methods. No birth control method is perfect and every procedure or method has a side effect. Below are short-term and long-term effects of birth control on the body.
Short-term side effects
- Unusual bleeding between periods or spotting (hormonal methods)
- Headaches (hormonal methods)
- Nausea (hormonal methods)
- Breast tenderness (hormonal methods)
- Weight gain (hormonal methods)
- Mood swings (emergency pill)
Long-term side effects
Can birth control be used for long term?
Long-term contraceptives are recommended only if the doctor prescribed it. Many long-term birth control methods contain hormones. This can cause problems depending on a person’s medical history, age and overall health. Oral contraceptive pills should not be taken for more than five years without a break. Doctors may advise some people to avoid using certain types of birth control. If a birth control pill causes side effects, people can discuss with doctor and change pills until they find one that works for them.
At what age should women stop taking birth control?
Women usually should stop using birth control at the age of 55 years. It is not advisable to take pills continuously for five years without a break. Doctors recommend using a barrier method of contraception, such as condoms, to avoid getting sexually transmitted infections after the age of 50 years.
What is the difference between permanent and emergency birth control?
- Tubal ligation (for women) and vasectomies (for men) are relatively surgical procedures intended to make pregnancy impossible.
- They’re almost 100% effective in preventing pregnancy. If individual is very sure about not to have children in the future, they’re a great option to consider.
- Recovery time from these procedures usually takes only a few days. The sexual function of the patient and partners is not impacted.
- Reversing a tubal ligation or vasectomy is possible, but there isn’t any guarantee that fertility will return.
- If a patient has intercourse without using birth control or condom tears during sex, it is advisable to consider emergency contraception.
- Two types of emergency birth control are available: morning-after pills and IUCD (which doubles as emergency contraception).
- One type of pill often called “Plan B” is available from most pharmacies without a prescription; it can prevent pregnancy up to three days after sex. The more effective pill often called “Ella” does need a prescription and can prevent pregnancy up to five days after sex.
- Copper intrauterine device also requires patient to see a doctor, but they’re almost 100% effective when inserted within five days of intercourse.
What is the best form of birth control?
What's "best" among birth control methods differs from person to person. What is right for a person may not be right for others. And individual needs may also change over time.
- The only 100% assured method to avoid pregnancy is to not have penetrative sex or any sexual activity where sperm can reach into the vagina. This is called abstinence.
- Condoms with any type of birth control are considered the most effective way to avoid pregnancy and also offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). No birth control method is perfect. Using condoms with another type of birth control (like the implant, intrauterine device or pill) gives backup protection in case either method fails. Condom lowers the chances of getting all kinds of STDs, like HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia and herpes.